It is always the week before any great adventure that is the busiest and freakiest. It is the time when everything seems to go wrong and all the last minute details start piling up. I don’t handle stress that I cannot control well. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep and I have a constant headache. I am not pleasant to be around.
Dave can put things out of his mind and compartmentalize. He can be of use to society and get his work done, enjoy conversations and have a great sleep. Me, I fret and worry, and right now, I am definitely fretting.
Let me Tell you about our Mongol Rally Pandemonium During Preparations for the Mongol Rally.
We get an email earlier this week from AllWays Rentals in New Zealand telling us that their contact Danny in England thinks that the guy that they bought the car off of didn’t send the V5 in to the DVLA in London.
What is a V5 and the DVLA?
The V5 is the document of ownership change that lets us out of England with our car. If we don’t have that, there is a chance that we can’t leave the country, there is a definite chance that we can’t get out of Western Europe and there is an absolute chance that we can’t get into Mongolia. The DVLA is the motor vehicle license beaureau in England. We’ve called and emailed them and they have no record of our V5, but tell us that doesn’t mean anything because they won’t know if it has been sent in until it is processed.
We can’t get a hold of the seller to ask him if he sent it in. We only get a direct to Vodaphone voicemail that seems out of order, and AllWays has no other way of getting in touch with them. If this guy was a dealer that had his car up for sale online, wouldn’t he have to have an email address to go with it? This is all so confusing my head is spinning.
Dan at The Adventurists (The Mongol Rally organizers) has been incredibly helpful. We emailed him to inform them of our dilemma and he was back in an instant calming our nerves and giving us options. There are options that are too complicated to go into detail here, but at they involve driving as far as the Ukraine and having the V5 posted to us or leaving England late or trying our hand at driving as far as we can until we get stopped.
It’s not ideal, but at least we can still participate in the Rally. We initially thought, that’s it. All this hard work down the tubes.
Danny in London…
I have called Danny (the nice man storing our car) in London to ask him his thoughts and he seems like a super nice guy. We feel bad putting a stranger through all of this. He has driven 100 miles to pick up a car from a guy that seemed to have scared him silly and is now storing our car 100 miles outside of London waiting for us to come and take it off of his hands.
He isn’t 100% certain that this seller “Tom” didn’t send in the V5, but his gut feeling is that he hasn’t and since we bought the car at the beginning of June and it is now the first week of July and he still hasn’t received any documentation, I think Danny is right.
We sent our Passports away, way back at the beginning of May to a company in England called The Visa Machine. It seemed like the best thing to do since we needed 5 Visas for the Mongol Rally.
Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia and Uzbekistan.
Between the letter of invitations and intentions that we would have had to organize, it was much easier to send our passports off in one shot and have them take care of everything.
Sounds Great in Theory…
We now don’t have Dave’s passport and we fly out one week from today! Mine was returned via FexEx last Tuesday and Dave’s is still sitting somewhere in the Kazakhstan embassy in London, England. We fly next week with no word as to where Dave’s passport is. If the Visa Machine doesn’t return our emails soon, I am going to go up the wall.
We’ve sent 3 emails in 3 days with not a peep from them.
I am sure that at this point they are getting a lot of emails from Rally participants desperate to get word on their passports, but surely they would have been prepared for this? The Mongol Rally happens every year and every year I am sure that there are last minute freak outs about passports not being returned. If we don’t get our passport back we eat a ticket, I fly to England without Dave and we pay for a hefty last minute flight.
Visa Machine Please Get Back To Us! We’re Dyin’ Here!
On the plus side..
Afternoon Tea is happening this Saturday for Mongol Rally Fans and participants around the world. If you are in Philadelphia this Saturday July 9th, get yourself over to Union League, a Dapper gentleman’s club downtown Philly. Where you will have the chance to see Charles Brewer-Carias speak. An extraordinary man that has lead over 200 expeditions, written countless books and has over 30 plants and animal species named after him. Now that’s impressive!
140 South Broad Street,
For More information and tickets head over to the Afternoon Tea page at the Adventurists.