Blog date 15-05-2013
Evening before the trip
Finally a kitchen to use. When I left home I was so happy that I didn’t have to cook for a while, but after all the crazy, unusual and sometimes also bad food, after almost 2 weeks you are happy to be able to make something yourself. Just put ingredients in what you like and know well. They have quite a lot of familiar things in the supermarket in UB (Ulaanbaatar), but it was still quite a task to find something that would make a familiar good meal. Eventually made “vegetarian spaghetti” which was quite tasty. During the preparation I came in conversation with a Dutch girl who had just arrived here and since there was enough food, she was able to eat along. We had a nice conversation and she said that she will travel through Mongolia alone for 2 months. Wooh how brave! After dinner I started to prepare myself for a trip through central Mongolia. It sort of is some kind of vacation in a vacation.
So nice not to have to worry about what to eat, where to sleep, what to do and how to get there. But first the backpack must be packed again. So strange because you already only have a few things with you and now you can make a selection of them again. It took about an hour and then I was ready to go back to basic.
Next morning took the last shower for a while. When I came downstairs, our interpreter already made a nice breakfast with fried eggs, sandwiches and fresh fruit. It really was the best breakfast in times and could hardly have been happier. Before we could really leave, the others had to quickly get some cash. After waiting a while (could’ve slept for another hour or so) we really left for the national park. Along the way had a nice lunch somewhere in the grass and then made a very nice walk through the mountains. This was a very special experience, because a large part was still covered in snow but we could still walk in our shorts since it didn’t feel cold at all (and for the people that know me, I’m always cold) We have seen reindeer, przewalskipaard horses, vultures, foxes and large groups of other ‘wild’ horses. Really cool. Watched another movie about how those przewalski horses were imported from the Netherlands and brought here in collaboration with the Mongolian government. After we left the park, we went looking for a place to sleep just outside the park, where all wild animals live. Really a great place but also a bit exciting! Go to sleep with the idea that there are wild wolves and stuff. Before we went to sleep we sat around the campfire in the evening and everyone started singing songs from their own culture and if you had sung you were allowed to drink vodka. Even today it was desperately needed to keep you warm for the night. And maybe also a bit to not feel the hard surface in the tent. But yes, it was only the 1st night!
Woke up early in the morning by a cow who thought it was necessary to stand next to my tent and mooooo loudly for fifteen minutes. (trust me not so much fun to wake up like that)
First a few hours in the van (to a family that has loads of camels), which was also very nice to look at the different landscapes and to chase the cows, horses, sheep and goats off the road. When we arrived at the family’s yurt, we were traditionally given some kind of noodles with vegetables. It was pretty good but got way to much. Then got some Mongolian tea with lots of sugar. This was super tasty !!
So … we are ready, come on with those camels! First play with the puppy (jeeeej puppy puppy puppy:-) )and wait until everything is arranged for the pick-up. Explanation of how we should approach the camel, always on the right and you are not allowed to take anything that rustles. When it gets up you have to lean back a little. Easy said, easy done! We’ve made a nice trip of about 2.5 to 3 hours through a desert-like area. It was not the intention to make such a long journey, but we could not find the van with the driver (oops)
Eventually we found it and were very happy because we no longer had any buttocks left after hopping for so long. And it was a complete redemption of my noble parts. . Last night we went to sleep in the desert-like environment again knowing that there are wolves and other wild animals here. Always nice when you have to pee at night and you can hear so many weird noises! Before going to sleep, I chilled in the van with the interpreter and learned a lot about Mongolian culture. Just looked at the amazingly beautiful stars and when it quickly cooled down went into the sleeping bag.
When i got out of my tent I almost had a heart attack. The dogs including that cute little puppy apparently slept at our tents and started barking when I got out but it was all gooooood especially because the tiny puppy was there to 🙂
Packed everything again and prepared for a very long drive to the next family. This ride was certainly not without dangers. I did not know that a van could hang so crookedly over canyons. Everything went well but was pretty scary. Our driver then explained that the center of gravity of the van moved if when it was so crooked, otherwise we would certainly have rolled down.
You do wonder why people want to live so far up in the mountains, but oh well, fortunately we are not all the same. In the afternoon we had a very nice lunch between the horses and cows. At these moments you will remember why you started such a trip. Arriving at the family, major adjustments are needed. We had to eat everything they offered us. The people are very guest-free but I don’t feel very comfortable yet. Just keep on going and go with the flow. Tonight I could sleep very nice and warm in one of their yurts.
Tomorrow morning we are going to leave the van for what it is and stay with this family for a while and ride the horses through the beatiful nature of Mongolia. We can only bring clean underwear and what we have on. Since we have to take the tents sleeping bags, water and food. So it is again a small selection of the few clothes that I already have with me! Wooh, why did I want this again? That night I slept in the yurt with the oldest of the family and the interpreter. How bizarre that these people can live so happily and have no idea what is going on in the rest of the world. The only thing they can worry about is whether they can find enough grass and water for their cattle. Pretty back to basic!