If you haven’t read part 1 of our border crossing adventures from Romania to Moldova and Ultimately the Ukraine, Check out Part 1 of How to Cross a Ukrainian Border.

It was after 11:00 pm when Natasha (our blond Moldovan Border official) finally escorted us to the Ukraine. She told us that either Dave or I had to go with her, so since the car was in Dave’s name, it would be me. We had a very uncomfortable 5-minute drive to the other side. Where she couldn’t understand a word I was saying and all she could spit out in English was, you go to Mongolia? When do you come back? I had to think fast. We don’t have the proper paperwork so we can’t say that we are leaving the car in Mongolia. I had to lie. “We will be back in September I said. She said, “I will wait for you.” Yikes, what does that mean?

To see why we don’t have our paperwork check out Mongol Rally Prep and Pandemonium

I noticed, her take some money with her once she got out of the car to obviously give the officials in the Ukraine their cut of our 200 Romanian Lei (approximately 50 Euro)

She was inside for a while with our passports and paperwork and I had visions of her sipping a coffee, smoking a cigarette and talking about her day at work rather than discussing our dilemma. I think that they already knew what they were going to do with us.

Another 15 minutes later and we were finished with Moldova.

How did we know that?

Yet another official came to us and said “You are now finished with Moldova, you now must deal with the Ukraine. Pull up please.” Now that sounded scary. What happens when we deal with the Ukraine?

We pulled ahead 2-metres to the white line and proceeded to wait.

Welcome-to-ukraine-sign

We were now a little nervous. Natasha had left us and there was no Vasil to translate for us, we were on our own with the scary Ukrainian officials that we had heard so much about.

The Procedure.

It was another hour of Dave going in and out of the office to explain our paperwork situation and what we were doing.

“Why do you not have the V5?” They asked.
“Because the previous owner did not send it to us.” Dave said.
“Why did he not send it to you?”
“I don’t know.” He explained that we went to the DVLA in London and they issued us a temporary V5 and stated that it would be ok for us to drive the car to Mongolia.  “Why do you drive to Mongolia?”
“Because it is a fun adventure.”

There was a nice woman officer inside that spoke English who translated for Dave. I don’t know what would have happened if she wasn’t there.

Eventually, they decided that they would let us into the Ukraine, but we now had to buy insurance.

Insurance

We knew that we had to buy insurance once we entered the Ukraine and we were prepared to buy it, so we weren’t surprised when they told us this.

We were also told in advance that it would be much cheaper to buy our car insurance for both the Ukraine and Russia at the Ukrainian border, so we decided to go ahead and do it.

While Dave was inside, Sherry, Rick and I were waiting in the car all this time. It was now the middle of the night and we saw a jolly looking man walk past us and into the office.

“That is odd, who could that be?” We thought.

It turned out to be the insurance salesman. He came to sell Dave insurance. Where he came from? We do not know. He told Dave that the price would be € 50 (Euro) for one month of coverage in Russia and €15 for the Ukraine.

We didn’t want to use up our Euros up too soon, so we asked him what the U. S. Dollar amount would be. If the exchange wasn’t too bad, we would pay with that. It turned out that his conversion was even better than ours and we ended up saving a lot money.

Rick handed me a crumpled $20 note, which I knew better than to give because most countries want crisp dollar bills, but we chanced it anyway. The guy refused it as expected, but I think all the delays and back and forths confused him a little and he gave us $10 change for some unknown reason. We’ll take it!

In the end our insurance cost us 55 USD for Russia and 20 USD for the Ukraine. Now that’s a savings!

It looked like our marathon border crossing was coming to an end.

The nice female guard asked Dave one last question.
“What is that thing around your neck?”
Dave replied, “It is a good luck charm from New Zealand.”
Oh, she said. “I thought it was air freshener”

Dave’s necklace is a flat greenstone that is popular in New Zealand and upon a second look, I could see how she thought that it could be that little flat evergreen tree that people hang from their car windows to freshen the air. She must have thought Canadians are strange. Why do they want to smell like car freshener?

So with a final word to tell us that we were crazy to drive to Mongolia, they sent us on our way reminding us that they would be waiting for our return.

Oh yeah, did I mention that luckily Dave answered the same way I did when asked if we would be leaving the car in Mongolia? He too answered no, we are driving back it back to England. Lucky we’ve been together for years and think the same. We both replied on separate occasions that we would be back sometime in September.  I wonder how long they will keep an eye out for us.

And just like that it was over, that is until the next border crossing where we head into Russia.

 

 

 

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16 Comments

  1. karen

    Wow, who knew, bravery, like-minds, luck, charms and a bit o cash were needed to cross a border? Great team effort.
    Can’t wait to get to the office this morning and share part 2 with co-workers. We had such fun discussing part 1 yesterday.

    1. davendeb

      Thanks Karen, it was definitely a great team effort. Much excitement! It’s been more excitement than we were expecting here on the Mongol Rally. A lot of fun, Dave and I really thrive on this stuff. For some reason, we enjoy the challenges:)

  2. Megan

    Nice work getting through the borders – sounds like you all kept a cool head which is essential in these situations. Borders are so tenuous – so scary to think you can be denied at the whim of a single person.

    And she thought Dave’s tiki was air freshener? I am still giggling!!

    1. davendeb

      It is so true. We have heard from other Mongol Ralliers who have had to pay a lot more money than us and have had much longer waits. It all comes down to the luck of the draw and the mood of the border official.

    1. davendeb

      Haha, James Bond and the Bourne Identity have been going through my head quite a bit on this trip!

  3. Melvin

    And I was wondering the new & strange smell when you stayed with us…. Air freshener!

    Now it makes sense!

    That was a good one! I really had to laugh out loud when reading it! :)

    1. davendeb

      Yes, it’s our little secret. Wear an air freshener to drown out the body odor, that way it confuses everyone:)

  4. lara dunston

    Hilarious. Love that her name is ‘Natasha’. It’s my middle name too, but – and you probably know this – to refer to someone as “a Natasha”, as in “she’s probably a Natasha” is to suggest she’s a hooker. They’re always blonde too, whether natural or bleached. I have a feeling she wanted that air freshener good luck charm. ;)

    1. davendeb

      Haha, we kept joking that we bet Natasha is a dominatrix by night. She wouldn’t have to even change uniforms:D
      Ah, that explains it, I bet she did want that necklace. Lucky Dave was oblivious.

  5. Natalie T.

    I’m part Ukranian but I don’t speak the language. Good to know from Laura’s note that I’m a Natalie and not a “Natasha.” I know Sherry was calling her “Natasha clicky heels.” I really do wonder how much these custom officials are making off those from the Mongol Rally crossing the border. Maybe Natasha doesn’t need a night job by the looks of it!

    1. davendeb

      I have a feeling they do a killing at these borders. They see us coming and know that our hands are tied. We were really at a disadvantage by not having the proper documentation. If you have it, you can refuse to pay (just do it in a very nice way) We found that out later, when we had the V5 emailed to us. We were much more confident going through the borders and could argue our case better when someone asked us for money.

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