Trip Start Jun 12, 2010
27Trip End Ongoing
We passed an area with heaps of sheep-skins for sale. Bayar says that they are $1.50 each... seems very cheap.
Once more we're in the hands of Lonely Planet. It recommends UB-2 in Terelj So that's probably where we'll be staying tonight.
I suspect that many people put themselves too much into the hands of Lonely Planet but when we were told there was nothing ahead on the road we cited Lonely Planet and insisted we push on. Bayar was pretty dubious but he caved in. Then finally we rounded a bend and there it was.
They tried to check us into a yurt at first but we weren't having any of that. We wanted comfort - and for Nora and Sally that meant proper sit-on toilets and showers. Well, it did for me too but I could pretend I didn't care as I knew they'd do enough complaining for me too.
I suggested we start with a walk to the village. Then we could buy some picnik food and walk into the hills for lunch. We didn't really try to buy any alcohol as it was the first day of the month and we presumed they'd be on the wagon. I did however have a bottle of vodka that I'd brought with me from Ulan Bator.
Next to our hotel was another hotel.
it didn't seem to have a name and bizarrely wasn't in Lonely Planet. Perhaps hotels do give them a kick-back but this one refused? Or do they just not want the Lonely Planet sort of traveller inside their hotel? It certainly looked pretty impressive.
They had a pretty good selection in the first shop we tried. Most remarkable was a huge long salami for less than two dollars. They even had plastic cups... which I ended up forgetting to buy in the end as will be obvious.
The village really was small. That's basically it in the background... The number of buildings and yurts we saw was probably misleading as many of the yurt 'encampments' had a sign up indicating that they were a yurt 'hotel'. These signs were all in Mongolian so these were no touristy gimmik. Presumably they get a lot of people from Ulan Bator turning up to get away
from the rat race.
I thought I'd better get a photo for the collection. Though I suppose it was never going to look any different inside.
Seems like a good spot to me but there ended up being a fair bit of debate over where to have our picnik. I spotted a nice group of trees high up for shade and for a good view but Sally was more keen on finding somewhere that didn't require so much climbing. After Nora came up to where I was Sally came up too but all we did was have a quick drink before heading off down to the more level area over-looking the river. A big mistake in my opinion.
But Nora may have been right in that it may have been difficult to put anything down without it rolling down the hill.
Yes, as I'd mentioned I'd forgotten to buy the plastic cups...
There were heaps of these birds around. Making a strange sound.
Some beer would have helped and a few less flies... and cows but we enjoyed it nevertheless. (Oh, I ended up deleting the photo with the cow in the background...)
We decided to walk along by the river to get back to the hotel. Bit of a steep climb down but we'd already seen some Mongolians successfully tackle it.
I went over to a group of Mongolian picnikers... I'm afraid I couldn't help myself and I ostentatiously picked up some litter nearby and put it into the plastic bag I had.
My Mongolian's not perfect but I can recognise by tone of voice the words - 'we didn't do it'... in any language. Right!
Then on we went... with Nora backtracking because she thought the hill would be too steep. She's worse than me.
I've had some requests for pics of Mongolian wrestling. Will this do?
Whoever thought Mongolia would look like this?
Before long a bloke came along with an extra horse and he offered to give one of us a lift. Despite no head-gear this time Sally jumped at the chance.
She seems to have finally got the knack of getting onto these awkwardly sized Mongolian horses...
Once I'd explained where we were going
they were off. We thought Sally might be eloping she was so in her element When Sally finally turned up at the hotel she was laughing her head off. I can imagine that such a haphazard horse ride would have been pretty exciting.
There was a golf driving range attached to the hotel so I went to hit a bucket of balls.
They give you a caddy who carries your clubs over then watches as you hit and every time you hit a decent ball she bursts into applause and calls out 'good shot'. How would I know you might ask...? Flukes!.
Koreans are into this sort of thing and my caddie spoke some Korean I wouldn't be surprised if most of the tourists that come here are Korean.
I'll have to analyse these photos... in theory they should tell me a lot about the problems in my technique.
My caddie said she doesn't play golf so I asked her whether she played table tennis. She said she did but I should have known better as almost no-one that says they can play can.
I quickly gave her the sack and played the maids but they weren't much better either.
Nora I played left handed... But I didn't win that easily.
I'd spotted a sign at our hotel saying that the yurts could be rented by the hour. We thought that would be a good opportunity to try one of them out. No... not what you're thinking. We grabbed some chips, some beer and vodka and off we went.
It's basically just a big tent... but you can stand up and there's furniture.
Not enough room for my socks though... they had to go. I've since abandoned those shoes too. Rather appropriate that my socks ended up next to Nora's ash-tray...
Just about when our time was up some girls started playing one of the security guards basketball almost outside our front door so that got my attention. Over I went. I never did work out who was on who's side...
Ulan Bator may have been dry on the day but the rule didn't seem to apply to tourists... Nora wanted a gin and tonic but Russian style they asked how much gin I wanted so I said 200 ml. I took that back to the foyer where we waited for Gunsen to turn up. Who?, you might ask.
Well, I'd searched for language partners outside of Ulan Bator and despite the tiny size of Terelj,
I did in fact have a language partner there. We'd only exchanged a few emails but I managed to get her phone number and arranged to meet her at our hotel. Actually she didn't have far to come as she works at the super luxurious hotel next door! I presume it was a novelty for her to get to hand out with three Australians for a few hours. It was certainly interesting for us to actually get to know someone in Terelj.
We went up to Nora's room (always the party room) to chat. I hope she didn't notice Nora taking a longer and longer route every time she went back to fill up her glass. She'd already knocked off her huge gin and tonic. Anyone else I would have needed to warn but I had faith that Nora could handle it. Nora certainly looks ready to party on in the photo. No wonder Sally left early.
We ended up after one in the morning walking Gunsen back to the hotel next door where she not only works but also lives.