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Mongolia At Random

Tim Navis is a fashion photographer that, when he isn't shooting gorgeous female models, spends his time shooting beautiful landscapes. A little while back he took part in the infamous Mongol Rally, driving a small car from London to Mongolia by any means necessary. He described it as being very hard, but 'Probably one of the best things I have and ever will do in my life':

"My favourite story … has to be the one with the van towing us. This is how we completed our final 250 miles. Which isn’t an easy feat as it involves A LOT of negotiating with locals who don’t speak English, begging, explaining, trading or monetary settlements. If you think finding a tow to haul your broke down car back is hard… try doing it in Mongolia. At least wherever you are, you have a cell phone most likely. In Mongolia, I stood out in the rain for good three hours one day trying to catch a tow up a hill. Finally one guy towed me up and at the top, I had to find yet another two. It was an arduous process to say the least.

My favourite thing I got to do in Mongolia had to be driving through the toll gate backwards. Here I roll up to the gate in this beat up up tiny car painted up as a Rubik cube with God knows what written all over it from various people in various countries. The exhaust system had enough and went missing a few days before. I have no idea what happened to the exhaust… just one day the car sounded like a turbo charged go-cart that would only work in reverse. I had to drive in reverse because a day or two before the bolt that held the stick shift to the gear box got completely sliced off. I tried to use some of the epoxy I had in the trunk to fix it but that failed right away. Going downhill was fine but if there was any uphill, the car would make the most horrible grinding sound I’ve ever heard. And without an exhaust system, the car had zero power.

Moving on, I get to the toll booth and the guard at the gate was coming at me blowing his whistle signalling for me to turn the car around. I just shrugged at him and smiled at the toll lady, gave her my 50 tenge and FLOORED it. Why? Because to get over the tiny speed bump behind me, that’s what I had to do. The exhaust made a loud BRAAAAAAAAAAAAP sound and barely made it over the speed bump. Instantly the toll lady and guard started laughing. The guard just stood there and laughed. All was good. Until the engine started steaming heavily and over heated.

The next tow came relatively quickly which turned out to be a milk truck making deliveries. He drove the car kindly to the finish line but made a few quick stops to deliver milk before he dropped me off. Now I can check off “make milk deliveries in Ulanbataar” off my bucket list."

You can find a lot more of Tim's rather lovely photography on his website at www.navisphotography.com

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