I went to the DHL office on Friday to pick up the suspension. But the tracking number I had didn’t work with their system. After a long day involving many phone conversations, SMS messages and a trip to the Central Post Office, I learned that the package was sent using regular post, not express… I was told that the package was en route via China and it would arrive in about 3 weeks.

I was shocked! This would be a relatively acceptable mistake if I hadn’t specifically told them that I wanted it sent via DHL Express and would be paying the difference. Someone in Germany, wanted to save a few bucks and didn’t take my instructions seriously.

I called them back and asked them to build me another suspension free of charge, and send it via DHL Express. But such a demand required the approval of the big boss and he wasn’t available until Monday.

So I spent the weekend trying to find a motorcycle shop in UB. There is none other than cheap Chinese bikes. All I could find was a shack with a few old second hand bikes sitting around. They forwarded me to a repair shop. I met Dashka, the mechanic there. He seemed confident that he could rebuild my suspension. I didn’t have anything to lose so agreed to pay him 60 dollars if he succeeded. I needed a place to do some service on the bike anyway.

He started dismantling the suspension as I washed the mud off the bike. When he finally opened it, what we found was a mechanical soup. Everything had melted into a greasy mixture and boiled for hours of riding on washboards. There were unrecognizable pieces. I kept on cleaning the air filter as he went on to clean the remaining pieces. I was changing the spark plugs when he started putting it back together and replacing the seals. He filled it back with suspension oil as I finished changing the engine oil on the bike. We mounted it on the bike and tried. It was a very exciting moment but unfortunately it didn’t work. I think he was more disappointed than I was. It was past midnight so I left the bike there and went to the hotel.

Next morning when I came to the garage, he had cut off my dampening and welded another one in its place. He Frankenstein’ed it. But it seemed to work. I paid him the money I promised and left back to the hotel.

I decided that I could move on a few hundred miles up north instead of waiting here, so arranged the delivery of the new suspension to Chita. I didn’t have much time to do sightseeing in Ulaan Baatar, but I don’t think it will be necessary. I’d be happy to leave as soon as I can.

It’s getting very late. Soon it will start snowing in the far east. I’ll try to make it out of Russia in two weeks.