We towed the Peugeot 306 to the drop off point in Bayanhongor and said goodbye to the Icelanders. They were going to catch a bus and meet us in UB (Ulaanbaatar).
Altai to Bayanhongor definitely seemed like the hardest stretch and we saw 5 or 6 cars at the drop off point that also didn't finish. We ate our last packet of Nong Shim Ramen from the 20 pack box I bought back in New Malden and we got underway by 2pm. I was quite worried we might be pushing our luck as we had been told that it would take 4-5hrs to get to Arvaikheer. Thankfully the weather was fine, most of the snow seemed to disappear and we made it in 4.5hrs. This was our last piece of dirt road, since we knew the next leg was all sealed. How I am going to miss those Mongolian roads, they were really good fun. Intense concentration was required.
So we arrived in Arvaikheer with an hour of sunlight left, so we thought we had plenty of time to evaluate its hotels. The first one was a building site outside, but was warm and an OK standard, but a bit dear at ~40USD. The next place didn't have its heating on and it had a policemen's party on the floor below. You could clearly hear the excruciating Karaoke from below. The next places were shitholes and we were directed by a Mongolian guide to a couple of other hotels, but we frustratingly couldn't find them. After an hour I thought we should go for the very first hotel, only to find the room was now unavailable. Tired, cold, hungry and frustrated. Not a good combination. So we settled on the place with the Karaoke and we told it would finish by 11pm. Which it did actually, thankfully.
Next we tried to find food and we did find a place with a waitress who was about 16 but amazingly could speak English. We ate dinner and breakfast there. Breakfast is a nerve racking affair in Mongolia. I am in wonder how they will screw up the eggs. Broken? Stone cold? Anything is possible.
I almost forgot to mention we went next door to a night club called "New Leader" in Arvaikheer. It was cold, the sound system sounded like the speakers were all blown. The music was a bit hardcore and there tables of mostly hard looking men ordering a beer for each and a large bottle of vodka for the table. No doubt people were going to get seriously drunk!
Anyway Arvaikheer was our last night on the road and I was miserable, I hope you can tell by reading this.