If you haven’t read part 1 of our border crossing adventures from Romania to Moldova and Ultimately the Ukraine, Check out Part 1 of How to Cross a Ukrainian Border.
It was after 11:00 pm when Natasha (our blond Moldovan Border official) finally escorted us to the Ukraine. She told us that either Dave or I had to go with her, so since the car was in Dave’s name, it would be me. We had a very uncomfortable 5-minute drive to the other side. Where she couldn’t understand a word I was saying and all she could spit out in English was, you go to Mongolia? When do you come back? I had to think fast. We don’t have the proper paperwork so we can’t say that we are leaving the car in Mongolia. I had to lie. “We will be back in September I said. She said, “I will wait for you.” Yikes, what does that mean?
To see why we don't have our paperwork check out Mongol Rally Prep and Pandemonium
I noticed, her take some money with her once she got out of the car to obviously give the officials in the Ukraine their cut of our 200 Romanian Lei (approximately 50 Euro)
She was inside for a while with our passports and paperwork and I had visions of her sipping a coffee, smoking a cigarette and talking about her day at work rather than discussing our dilemma. I think that they already knew what they were going to do with us.
Another 15 minutes later and we were finished with Moldova.
How did we know that?
Yet another official came to us and said “You are now finished with Moldova, you now must deal with the Ukraine. Pull up please.” Now that sounded scary. What happens when we deal with the Ukraine?
We pulled ahead 2-metres to the white line and proceeded to wait.
We were now a little nervous. Natasha had left us and there was no Vasil to translate for us, we were on our own with the scary Ukrainian officials that we had heard so much about.
It was another hour of Dave going in and out of the office to explain our paperwork situation and what we were doing.
“Why do you not have the V5?” They asked.
“Because the previous owner did not send it to us.” Dave said.
“Why did he not send it to you?”
“I don’t know.” He explained that we went to the DVLA in London and they issued us a temporary V5 and stated that it would be ok for us to drive the car to Mongolia. “Why do you drive to Mongolia?”
“Because it is a fun adventure.”
There was a nice woman officer inside that spoke English who translated for Dave. I don’t know what would have happened if she wasn’t there.
Eventually, they decided that they would let us into the Ukraine, but we now had to buy insurance.
We knew that we had to buy insurance once we entered the Ukraine and we were prepared to buy it, so we weren’t surprised when they told us this.
We were also told in advance that it would be much cheaper to buy our car insurance for both the Ukraine and Russia at the Ukrainian border, so we decided to go ahead and do it.
While Dave was inside, Sherry, Rick and I were waiting in the car all this time. It was now the middle of the night and we saw a jolly looking man walk past us and into the office.
“That is odd, who could that be?” We thought.
It turned out to be the insurance salesman. He came to sell Dave insurance. Where he came from? We do not know. He told Dave that the price would be € 50 (Euro) for one month of coverage in Russia and €15 for the Ukraine.
We didn’t want to use up our Euros up too soon, so we asked him what the U. S. Dollar amount would be. If the exchange wasn’t too bad, we would pay with that. It turned out that his conversion was even better than ours and we ended up saving a lot money.
Rick handed me a crumpled $20 note, which I knew better than to give because most countries want crisp dollar bills, but we chanced it anyway. The guy refused it as expected, but I think all the delays and back and forths confused him a little and he gave us $10 change for some unknown reason. We’ll take it!
In the end our insurance cost us 55 USD for Russia and 20 USD for the Ukraine. Now that’s a savings!
It looked like our marathon border crossing was coming to an end.
The nice female guard asked Dave one last question.
“What is that thing around your neck?”
Dave replied, “It is a good luck charm from New Zealand.”
Oh, she said. “I thought it was air freshener”
Dave’s necklace is a flat greenstone that is popular in New Zealand and upon a second look, I could see how she thought that it could be that little flat evergreen tree that people hang from their car windows to freshen the air. She must have thought Canadians are strange. Why do they want to smell like car freshener?
So with a final word to tell us that we were crazy to drive to Mongolia, they sent us on our way reminding us that they would be waiting for our return.
Oh yeah, did I mention that luckily Dave answered the same way I did when asked if we would be leaving the car in Mongolia? He too answered no, we are driving back it back to England. Lucky we’ve been together for years and think the same. We both replied on separate occasions that we would be back sometime in September. I wonder how long they will keep an eye out for us.
And just like that it was over, that is until the next border crossing where we head into Russia.