Sunday, May 20, 2007

Mutton, Nomads, and other things Mongolian

Well, since I have haven't written a post in while ( 3 weeks maybe), I thought I would nut one out there for consistency sake. I have three cool post ideas saved as a drafts that I need to put up before I go back into China when the great firewall will come back into action. Anyway back to the point: Mongolia.

Alright, Umhhh. The News. Just returned from a 5 day trip to the beautiful White Lake. Amazing would be an understatement - the lake was so pristine, it was unbelievable. Still half frozen, there was literally no one around, expect the occassional nomad settlement or tourist camp. I meet some other travellers (three british and two finnish twins) and we hired a Russian Jeep, along with a driver, and off we went. Our driver, Baatar, was very cool - he was a national wresting champion. As a rule for a blog post to be most effective it needs to be short and sweet, and with that in mind, I will put the highlights in point form
  • Mongolian Throat Singing. Amazing Amazing Amazing. I will embed a YouTube Video on this blog soon
  • Horse Riding for the first time. Although I was initally a bit nervous, the butterflies soon dissipated, and it ended up being an interesting experience. Though my knee, legs and ass were in pain the next day. Plus, I got really sick that night. Sunstroke maybe
  • Nomads Families. Stayed with Baatar's family in the Mongolian Central Grasslands. Amazing experience. We had our own ger to ourselves and got an unique insight into a way of life that still occupies 50% of Mongolia's population. Also had yak milk and tea with another family when we went horse riding.

I could go on and on and on, but I will get to other news. After that trip, I felt much better. Prior to that point, I was getting a bit bored. Well, not really bored, just sick of hanging around in Ulaatar Baatar, waiting for my Mongolian friends to "sort something out". Mongolians, for better or worse, are renown for being incredibly slack. It was nice to hang out with foreigners and experience Mongolia as a genuine tourist, something I hadn't done in 3.5 weeks.

And now. Well I have about 5 days left. I don't have anything too urgent on the agenda. The only priority is to meet up with my friend, Brendan Blades, who is a teacher in Mongolia with the American Peace Corps. He is an old mate from my young days when I lived in Seattle, U.S.A. We haven't seen each other in about 13 or 14 years, so it should be a cool experience. Other than that: shopping, perhaps go out once or twice, eat more Mongolian food, and go back to China, ready to go. Once in China, I meeting up with my friend Turks and another guy, Ricci, and from there, we are attacking South-West China, Tibet, Nepal and Tibet. Looking forward to it

I think I will leave Mongolia satistied, having learnt a lot and with the knowledge that I got to experience the country on numerous levels - as a tourist, as a teacher (however briefly), as a student, as a host brother, as a friend, and even as a Nomad. And even though I am ready to go, I sincerely believe I will be back. It would be pompous of me to say Mongolia "changed" me, but it definitely impacted me in a large way. Bayarlala


In case I haven't told you, you can view my pictures on my flickr site: You can also view the adventures of my friend, Mark, in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam site.