Mongolia Countryside

Trip Start Jan 01, 2006
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Trip End Jun 30, 2006


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Friday, May 12, 2006

Visiting Ger's in Ulaanbaatar

Early Thursday morning (AKA Date day) our tour guide T picked us up from our hotel with a driver to take us to a traditional Ger for a visit. The drive was only 1 hour out of town and T kept us entertained by showing us pictures of her family, her travels, and her friends. She is very friendly and spoke perfect english. We were so happy to have her as our guide yesterday.

From the main road, we drove a short distance down a dirt road. There we saw about 12 Gers and a few structures which were the rest rooms (still under construction) and the restaurant.

The ger is the primary form of portable housing in Mongolia and Tibet. It has a wooden frame and covered with a white cotten material, which is tied with a rope made from a horse tail or other material. There is a whole in the roof for smoke to escape. Inside the Ger we entered there were three single sized beds with a mattress - sheets, and woolen blanket. There was a small sink, table, and wood stove. We could tell that this was a "tourist" Ger and we understood that this would have been our hotel room for the night if we decided to have a two day tour.

Here is a link that describes a Ger more accurately: http://www.laohats.com/Mongolian%20Ger.htm

The Ger's were located in a very large valley with many hills surrounding us. We decided to climb one of the hills and go for a little hike. David had fun taking many pictures of the valley from above.

After the hike we were driven to the Turle rock, a huge boulder that looks like a turtle. Here is a link:

We went for another hike around the Turtle rock and saw some horses and local dogs. At turtle rock we bumped into a couple that we met on the train to Ulaabaatar. Her name was Irene (I can't remember her boyfriend's name). She was from Holland and was in medical school. Our tour guide T was in traditional medical school so introduced them to each other. Irene said she would be interested in learing traditional Mongolian medicine.

From the Turtle rock, we drove to see meet a nomadic family. This Ger was more basic. We met the grandfather and his grand daughter who was only 3. We guessed that the parents were out working in the country side. The grandfather offered us yogurt, milk tea, and local candy which was hard yogurt. Then we toured his yard - we saw horses in the field and calves who were born within the last month.

Soon it was time to return to the first place we visited for lunch. When we arrived we bumped into the American couple ( Julie and Tom) who we shared our birth with on the train to Ulaanbaatar. It's a very small world here and it seems as though everyone is doing the same things. Lunch was delicious. We had carrot and apple salad. David had a beef and vegetable soup. Then David had mashed potatoes and cutlets while I had a pasta dish with beef and onions.

After lunch Tom and Julie were trying to convince us to stay with them at the Ger. We told them that we were not too impressed with the bathroom facilities (no hot water and the outhouse had a trough in it, which David thought might collapse). I told them that I gave the out house a 2 out of ten rating. David agreed with me. We also told them that we could hear our hotel room calling us. Afterall - it was date night and we had dinner plans :)

We returned to our hotel room for a 2 hour nap and then we found a wonderful new restaurant for dinner. We enjoyed a delicious Cab-souv. with our dinner of shrimp cocktail, fillet minow, crepes, and coffee. We over heard a man at the table next to us saying "Moncton, Ottawa, Toronto". We could not resist saying hello. His name was Len and he is the Chief Technical Advisor for Flight safety. He owns a house on Riverside in Ottawa (which his son rents from him) and he comes to Mongolia 4 times a year. He also works in Korea and lives in Beijing. He was very friendly and we had a great conversation with him regarding our travels. He was originally from Moncton but grew up in Timmins, Ontario - where my (V) family still lives. Around 10 pm we wondered back to our hotel to watch a movie on our portable DVD player.

Today (Friday) is our free day where we have spent the morning visiting museums and investigating Ulaabaatar. This city reminds us so much of Timmins - the climate and the fact that it is an old mining town. Every morning it is sunny, clear, and warm. In the afternoons the skies cloud over and becomes chilly. Then in the evening - the skies become clear again and the temperature drops.

Hugs,

Veronica and David
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