23rd July 2016

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So now we are down to 2 cars and 6 people it was decided that a trailer would be a good idea, especially as beer is heavy and we could be in the Gobi desert for days without a pub.

Before we get a trailer we need to get a tow bar fitted to the car. This is where we realised that Russian is quite different to English. Not only is it a different alphabet it appears that there are absolutely no common words. With the advent of Google translate finding and explaining to someone that you want a tow bar fitted should be relatively easy. However with roaming data costing £6 a mb we would end up spending more on data than the cost of the cars. So it was down to playing charades, drawing pictures and talking loudly to try and communicate

It’s interesting when you watch two people talk who cannot understand a word each other say, they still continue to talk in their own language. It’s as though if they repeat themselves often enough the other person will suddenly understand English.

After a few hours in a nice Russian garage we eventually had a tow bar fitted. During the wait we remembered the chicken kebabs that we had stated to cook the morning before on the engine – now cooked to perfection, our culinary skills are definitely improving!

Everyone stopped talking to each other Thursday night – we had found our first Russian hotel with Wi-Fi since the border. All of us were glued to our phones, iPad and laptops sucking up the internet like a drowning man gasping for breath. 48 hours without internet access felt a very long time. The upside of this is we have found that you can download an off line version of google translate onto your phone. Suddenly we can text fluently in Russian!

This morning we managed to find a market that sold trailers and with the help of google translate the haggling started. We managed to hammer them down a few roubles so the trailer was only a little more expensive than buying another car.

As I was the only person never to have driven a car with a trailer before, it made sense for me to get some practice in. So far Russia just seemed like a very large forest with the occasional disappointing service station, but very easy driving.

An hour or so into my stint driving, this changed slightly as we hit the Moscow equilivant of the M25. All 14 lanes of it, at rush hour on a Friday evening, in the torrential rain, with no indicators. The perfect environment to learn how to drive with a trailer.

We now just need to find some new springs for the silver Micra and something to plug up all the holes left in the roof of the blue Micra from the old roof rack. With the torrential rain, water keeps pouring into the car and no amount of wet wipes stuffed into the holes can stem. Then, our tour of disappointing Russian petrol stations can continue unabated.