12th August 2016

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The sponsorship challenges in Siberia continued with Chris Silverwoods idea, “share a bowl of soup with the local police chief in the police station” Where do you even start with a challenge like that?

So we pondered this over a few beers with the operations manager of the rally. As it happened he knew a local mafia-esque guy, who owns a few nightclubs and has a lot of police ‘connections’. We left it with him to see what he could arrange.

A few hours later – “I told them you were a London copper so they are coming to meet you at 8.30 and will take you out” Not being a London copper, the idea of trying to impersonate a police officer to another police officer could be err, interesting…

The mafia guy and his police mate took us to a lovely restaurant to eat, rather than the police station though. They also ordered our food for us, which didn’t include any soup – soz, Chris, we did try and complain, but if I am honest we didn’t want to complain too much and offend them.

It was fascinating to hear about the Russian culture. Even more interesting to hear was their stories of ‘helping a mate out’. In England such stories would be described as corruption, with 5 – 10 years at her majesty’s pleasure. Also found out that it’s defiantly not a good idea to get on the wrong side of a Russian nightclub owner.

They insisted we drank like Russians – shots of straight vodka, washed down with cranberry juice in a second glass. They were absolutely lovely to us though, even if slightly disappointed we only went through 3 bottles of vodka with them – if we were Russian it should have been at least a bottle each.

We fly back tomorrow – the original plan was to drive the silver Micra back, but as it’s not in our name, we wouldn’t be able to get through the border checkpoints. Disappointing, as I was so looking forward to another two weeks surveying Russian petrol stations.

We dropped the blue car off to be crushed today and saw the silver Micra there, so also managed to undertake Luke’s wish of keying his name into the door.

Thanks again to everyone who has sponsored us so far and you still can here – https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/mongolists

And apologies to those of you who sent us a challenge that we didn’t have time to do. Including Matthew Kirk rather ambitious ‘build a road’ and more concerningly, Kenny Skelton – eat 50 eggs in one sitting.