Help me Obi wan Kenobi

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
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Trip End Feb 26, 2011


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Where I stayed
We have no idea but it was a desert with sand dunes in.. a ger

Flag of Mongolia  , Middle Govĭ,
Friday, March 12, 2010

As we were up at 5:30 with no wood we sat and waited for Gaya trying to keep warm. She entered at about 7:45 and lit the warmest most amazing fire. She brought us a breakfast of...... biscuits. And shortly after we left for the old city of Karakorum. This is the old capital where Gengis Kahn and his boys ran an empire. I have no idea why they chose here as it is literally in the middle of nowhere and is the coldest place I have ever been (although I've never been anywhere quite like Mongolia in the winter). We got out at the 'fort' and believe me when I tell you you have never seen cold like this. I guess the tempreture was about -30 degrees C but with about a force 6 wind blowing. We got out of the car and I instantly had a headache like when you have ice cream sometimes. My ears ooh my ears, and nose and tache, and lips and head and well just everything, this was verging on real torture.

The palace / city was amazing although most of it is now flat the temples have been preserved and are amazing. We spent about 1 hour here before we had to give up, the driver gave up well before. Perhaps the funniest was after the guide and driver had left I (Andrew) found a lone buddhist monk who invited us into his temple. we left a bit of money and he had a fire going so it was pleasant. On leaving I did my buddhist 'bow' you know with the hands together lowering the head, the monk couldn't stop laughing.. no idea why.

We then drove to the sand dunes, through again amazing scenery but with so many clothes on, we virtually didnt fit in the back seat. Erica couldn't move her head her scarf was so tightly drawn and adopted the whole body twist to look at me.

The car was attacked by dogs at one points which jumped all over the car and were trying to bite the wheel as we drove past, very very odd.

After a few hours we left the road, the snow disappeared and we were in the desert driving amongst dunes and battering the old Japanese car we were in. This cross country rally lasted for about 45 minutes and we finally arrived at a Ger just in the middle of nowhere. I joked to Erica it was a little bit like a Star Wars scene. Anyway we sat in the lady's Ger and watched her cook on the fire a meal of mutton, noodles and some veg and drank some tea. It was a real plateful and our shrunken stomachs struggled to get it all down. The lady took my plate, I thanked her than she filled it up with the same amount again, I couldn't believe it.

About 1 hour later a very very small man appeare from nowehere with 3 horses. The lady gave him a bottle of Vodka which he tucked on the inside of his robe (a little like the way Obi Wan tucks away his light sabre. We mounted the horses and trekked off into the sand dunes and deserts. So remote it was bizzare. I took a few photos and the took one of the man and Lady E. He went nuts so I hid the camera. After about five minutes he stopped the horses suddenly, volted off his horse and hit the deck. We were approaching the sandstone rock formations in the desert. He crouched down low next to his horse, and pulled out a telescope and started looking towards the rocks (the telescope upon closer inspection was half a binocular) when I uttered the words 'I think he has seen sand people' to lady E we nearly fell of our horses laughing. He was not amused and told us to be quite. We waited for about 5 minutes before he said the coast was clear. Eventually we arrived at another Ger were we saw an old woman bent over double. A small animal shelter had lambs that must have been born that day, they couldnt stand up and were so cute (although amongst the live were obviously some dead ones which took the shine off a little). He demanded we climb the cliffs (using only sign language) and he jumped on his horse and disapeared for almost an hour and a half rounding up sheep (well it was more like randomly just chasing them around the plane).

When we got back he pushed us into the Ger. In here were four men, a woman, a young girl and an old woman bent over double with only about 2 or 3 teeth. They had about three single beds between them and the woman was making mutton dumplings. Again they all sat talking amongst themselves while they simple stared directly at me, they were even pointing at me. Very uncomfortable but this is obviously a cultural thing and possibly unlike UK it mustnt be rude. They were very generous and gave us the rock hard bread we cant even bite through and ..... yes youve guessed it more fermented milk. So we had to sit and try to pretend to eat and drink (again custom says it is considered very rude not to accept Mongolian hospitality. I then got stuck into the dumplings made with the very dirty hands of our female host and they were delightful. We sat for about half an hour while they discussed my face before heading off.

The twin moons were setting over the plane (I mean the sun non Star Wars buffs). He left us to go and randomly chase horses around the plane. At this point Erica's horse put the brakes on and just refused to budge. It stayed stationary for about 40 minutes. When the man returned we decided we were now in a mad rush and we moved onto a trot followed by the next one up, you know the one where you have to stand in the stirrups while the saddle pulverises your backside. Erica had a cussion and was screaming whilst I was just getting the arse slapping of the century I was in agony. I kept shouting to see if she was ok with the pace and all i heard was 'wee, i need a wee desperatly'. Then to some up Mongolia out of nowhere a car appeared, and in it was our driver. Erica said it was like a mirage / white knight amazing.

We then settled down to another Ger night and drank our last bottle of Vodka with dinner and passed out. This was possible the most sustainable source of fuel for the fire as all we burnt was, well, compressed cow pats, it was nice to see the woman mid cooking to bring more cow dung with her bare hands fill up the fire then return to cooking. Dinner was still good though.

She brought us lots of blankets and we had the best nights sleep. One of my biggest regrets about visiting in the winter is the fact you cant sit outside and admire the stars, they are simply unbelievable in this country so bright no doubt full of shooting stars and all sorts. We only lasted about 1 minute outside after dark though. Secretly even I looked forward to a room with a bed, heating, electricity and a lock on the door of the hostel and our room. That is not to say though that I had fallen head over heals in love with the lifestyle, people, culture, nomadic way of life and just the way of life, so close to my ideals of being a red indian. This I will develop into my 'rant' when I get time as I bored Erica to death working myslef at times towards tears of the beauty and totally sustainable and very simple way of life. A very hard way of life don't get me wrong, nature is beautiful but in this place also most heart wrenchingly brutal. Just like somthing you have never ever dreamed of. Erica got very worried when I suggested selling the house and buying our first Ger, this is everything I've ever dreamed of and more. Erica needed to get me back to Ulanbator.

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Comments

Vic on

That is totally amazing Andrew.. Get some photos on soon.

mum on

absolutely unbelievable. Dad as you said would love it.

Gregg on

Hm, think I will have to try the cow-pat and dumplings recipe for tea 2nite - yum!!!!!

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