Eight hours later we arrived in Bumbugur after only two flat tyres. Mongolian roads test even the toughest vehicles with their potholes and rocks that leave huge holes as if gnawed by giant rats.
The first repair job involved removing two inner tubes, reinserting them, then reinflating them. Theoretically it would take twice as long to deflate if there were two inner tubes. This worked for the first hour until they both deflated again… The second repair job took longer and involved sticking a patch of rubber onto an inner tube with petrol. We spent an hour and a half sitting on the side of the road while this took place, on a dry dusty plain at the edge of the Gobi.
We eventually made it to a ger where one of our passengers got off. The lady (whose baby had been collected later in afternoon) invited us all in, but as we were 10 in total we shared sips and bites of the offered tea and marmot amongst us. The marmot was warm and greasy and delicious and I temporarily forgot that it often carries the plague.