To Mongolia: lies, visas, and tears

Our trip to Mongolia started off on a wrong foot… and continued in the same manner.
I believe that I owe an explanation first of all to my friends, who saw me preoccupied A LOT last autumn. So, here is my official letter to the Embassy of Mongolia in Bulgaria--


‘Dear Sirs,
I have just returned from a trip to Mongolia and I would like to report your representative in Romania, Rodica Pop.

The story is a long one, but I will keep it short.

I contacted Rodica Pop in July by phone - I could barely find the contact details - and she informed me on the new application form, in use as of July 1st. My boyfriend and I were scheduled to travel to Mongolia during the first half of October, so I agreed to submit the visa application in August.

Several e-mails were exchanged not because I am not a practical person, but because Rodica Pop kept telling me to write to her again and again, as she was not sure of the exact period during which she was going to be in Bucharest. She did not inform me on any of the documents to be submitted alongside the passport and the application form; she only told me about the USD 100 fee, to be submitted in the same envelope. As I realised that she is a very difficult person to communicate with, I resorted to my 18 years of experience as a traveller and included the documents that I thought would be necessary.

In the end, we did agree on the time frame - a very limited, one, if I may say -: 15.08.-24.08. It also coincided with our national holiday (15.08.); I only scheduled to send the envelope the following day (16.08.) and informed her of that by e-mail. She called me first thing in the morning and started screaming at me - that I have no respect whatsoever, that she is out of town - when she herself told me that she would actually BE IN TOWN -. In the end, I cancelled my fast courier order and placed it on Friday (with delivery on Monday, 20.08.). Unfortunately, things went wrong with this order, too, as the fast courier company nearly lost my envelope.

When Rodica Pop finally received it, she sent a very aggressive e-mail telling me that I put all those documents inside the envelope, yet did not stick the photos to the application. I did not know the procedure and had written our names on the back of the pictures. When I called her, she refused to stick them, she screamed at me AGAIN and, in the end, hung up the phone in my face when I told her that she did not inform me of anything else regarding our visa application except for the new application form, the passport, and the money.

My boyfriend took over and managed - through several phone calls and disregarding the fact that Rodica Pop kept calling me a LIAR - to convince her to help us with the visas. Our close friend from Bucharest had to meet Rodica Pop and stick the pictures to the application form.

IT WAS AN ORDEAL and NOBODY HAD EVER MADE ME FEEL THIS LOW IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.
I BELIEVE THAT RODICA POP SUFFERS FROM A SERIOUS MENTAL DISORDER, HAS A PROBLEM WITH YOUNG AND ATTRACTIVE WOMEN AND IS NOT SUITED TO ACT IN THE POSITION OF HONORARY CONSUL.
MY BOYFRIEND AGREES THAT ESTABLISHING ANY KIND OF COMMUNICATION WITH THIS WOMAN IS A BIG PROBLEM.

To be honest, I wanted to report her upon my return and I am furthermore entitled to do so, because at the border between Russia and Mongolia, we were refused entry because OUR VISAS WERE ERRONEOUS, bearing a seal that was no longer in use. The officials at the border control point were kind enough to issue a new visa, even stuck our pictures (which I had on me just in case) themselves without issues, but we lost a lot of time and made the van that we were travelling in wait for us for more than one hour and a half. They told us that it wasn't a singular case and that all visas from Romania bearing this seal had to be reissued.


Please be reassured that getting this visa was one of the worst travelling experiences of our lives and take the appropriate measures.

Thank you,’

Was it really worth it? The landscapes were splendid and I did find a (Turkish) oasis in the form of a café in Ölgii – which we would use for lunch and dinner and breakfast –, but for the rest, it was not.
Golden Eagle Festival; Ölgii, Mongolia
'Golden Eagle' Festival
Lake Tolbo, Mongolia
Lake Tolbo
From Ölgii to Khovd, through Mongolia
From Ölgii to Khovd
Tsambagarav Uul National Park, Mongolia
Tsambagarav Uul National Park
Along River Khovd, Mongolia
Along River Khovd
Pamuk; Ölgii, Mongolia
Pamuk
I am, however, glad that I went – I won’t have any ‘should have’s haunting me.
The other Mongolian misadventures will follow. For now, I wish to add a few words in Romanian, to warn my readers against using two fast courier companies’ services.

Dragii mei,
Că tot veni vorba, vă atrag atenţia asupra firmelor de curierat FAN Courier şi Urgent Cargus.
Cei de la FAN Courier practic mi-au pierdut un plic cu paşapoarte şi bani şi l-au găsit abia după 4 zile, el ajungând din Braşov în Bucureşti în fix 6 zile.
Mai grav, cei de la Urgent Cargus mi-au pierdut un colet pe 05.11.2018. Au promis să îi ramburseze valoarea produselor expeditorului, însă acest lucru nu s-a întâmplat. Nu cred că este nevoie să spun că serviciul lor clienţi este praf. Au o poezie pe care o repetă. Şi atât.
Dacă noi nu le-am mai folosi serviciile, ar dispărea. Gândiţi-vă la acest lucru.
Eu nu mai vreau să aud de ei!!

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