Would You Let Your Child Do This?
No - not stand on a car......
My son intends to take part in The Mongol Rally in July 2009. [He's the one in the middle]
Basically, a group of two or more post-adolescent nutcases buy a clapped-out motor car, of 1200cc or less, [well, they wouldn't want to make it too easy would they?] in this case, two cars! and head off over the plains of Eastern Europe and try and keep the car going for as long as possible across terrain where they don't have proper roads, a chain of Marriott Hotels or even petrol stations. In fact civilisation there is, well let's put it this way - still evolving!!!
It's a 10,000 mile trip which, once they get past Germany and Poland, they travel through Slovakia, Hungary and Romania to Turkey and across to the scary-sounding-but-apparently-actually-quite-friendly-and-unmissable Iran.[Not my description] After that, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Krygystan, Kazakhstan, possibly a few more 'stans' somewhere around southern Russia and on for a couple of thousand desolate miles into Mongolia. The journey will take between three and six weeks - depending on how much trouble they get into!
'It'll be a bit of fun, Mum,' he says blithely.
Because the import tax is crippling on even second hand, almost scrapyard quality vehicles, the rally entrants pledge to give the car to the charity at the end. I haven't asked too many questions yet, but I took a look at the website and my maternal antennae immediately flashed to this....
These adventures are genuinely dangerous things to do. The website is written in a light-hearted fashion but you cannot underestimate the risks involved in undertaking this kind of adventure. Your chance of dying can be very high, some past teams have been seriously injured. These adventures are not a glorified holiday. They are an adventure and so by their very nature extremely risky. You really are on your own. If it all goes wrong, that's it, tough. Anyone sensible would advise you to stay at home and arrange your pants in colour order.
And in the FAQ under, What tropical diseases could I contract?
This is NOT a comprehensive list so for real information contact your local travel clinic who can also tell what to do about minimising the risk, but here's a guide:
* Meningacoccal meningitis
* The plague
I don't want to see the comprehensive list!!!
Although this isn't the point of this blog - The expedition is seeking sponsorship for the Christina Noble Children's Foundation, an organisation dedicated to serving children in need of emergency and long-term medical care, nutritional rehabilitation, educational opportunities, vocational training, job placement and the protection of children at risk of economic and sexual exploitation.
Collectively, the goal is to fund the annual running costs of the Blue Skies Ger Village in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. They have also recently introduced the Sponsorship Project, encouraging teams and their supporters to sponsor a child in Mongolia.
The cars can be logoed up if anyone is seriously intersted and the trip is quite famous and is filmed and streamed all over the world. It's apparently a really big deal. Apparently there is a specific time you sign on and the 180 places were snapped up in three and a half minutes!
These particular three madmen have set up their own website called The Unprofessionals to track their progress from the preparation of the cars to the trip itself. Apparently they have to strip out the back seats for supplies and get in whisky and cigarettes for bribing border guards and local police!
Why couldn't he just sit in a bath of baked beans for the weekend or something????
Or join the army - at least he would have protective clothing. Oh hang on, apparently not!