So here I am in UB on my own. I have a look round the main square, which is unexpectedly grand compared to the size of the city, and visit the suprisingly good national museum where amongst many interesting things I discover that the big pile of rocks we camped next to about a week ago was a bronze age burial dating back to something like 1500 BC. I think we buried our rubbish under it…. Then I do some souvenir shopping (quite hard when you can only buy things you’ll be able to carry for another several thousand miles on a motorbike), write a couple of postcards (first since Bukhara, I think), and make plans to meet Dave Allen, who has just arrived in town. I first hoped he might be a travel partner for the rest of the trip, but his bike is broken and I don’t think he’ll be ready in time. I have 21 days till my Russia visa runs out, so if i’m carrying on I have to go the day after tomorrow at the latest. I witness the very wierd sight of a dustbin lorry driving slowly down main street playing a tune like an ice cream van, presumably to tell people to bring out their rubbish. Beats leaving it out on the pavement all day, i suppose. Take cover under a bus shelter as a sudden hailstorm passes through, and then see a car that drove into a puddle that turned out to be a big hole, which is being slowly pulled out of it by a tow truck. Try the laptop again, still dead, which will make getting the satnav set up very difficult. Then I meet up with Dave A, and 3 guys, Steve, Thane and Kyle, who have driven here in an LDV van for charity. As one act of charity they picked up Dave in Mongolia when his bike broke and carried him and bike all the way to UB. We have drinks and dinner (cheeseburger, or in most cases, two cheeseburgers) and exchange travel stories. It really seems like these guys have had 3 weeks of brilliant fun, which shows how much of a difference your choice of travel partner makes. I have a great time and am greatly cheered up. In particular, Dave A offers a lot of encouragement and practical suggestions and convinces me that I really should carry on. It makes an enormous difference.