Trip Start Jun 12, 2010
27Trip End Ongoing
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I woke pretty early and I was determined to climb one of those hills in the distance.
But first I thought I'd better get another snap of that hotel next door... and it's wall. I thought it a bit ironic that for a few hundred years Europeans had to build walls around their cities to, mostly unsuccessfully, keep out the Mongols... now Europeans build expensive hotels in Mongolia and what do they do? Build walls around them to keep out the Mongols... well, the ones on horses anyway, just like the old days.
Anyway, back up to the mountain. Getting across the first river was easy enough as there was a nice bridge but unexpectedly there was another branch of the river to cross.
Luckily a tree had fallen across it... otherwise there looked to be no way across.
Anyway I finally found a nice looking hill to climb but by now I'd run out of time and I was in jeans and my travelling t-shirt so I didn't quite make it to the top.
What I found fascinating was the fact that they have wild rhubarb in Mongolia. I wonder whether they eat it? No, perhaps not... I haven't seen any custard in the shops.
I got a nice pic from the top over towards our hotel.
And a bloke driving a cart and bullock.
During the trip we often saw blokes riding across the steppes standing up in the saddle. That must be how they always ride when they're gallopping. It's mesmering to watch.
And one last shot of those birds that keep making that unbirdlike noise. Perhaps one day I'll find out what sort of bird it is. No doubt there's an iphone app that will identify all the birds in Mongolia...
Walking back to the hotel I came across the bullock and cart again. Right next to where there had been a big yurt an hour or so earlier. Nora was wondering how they transport the yurt from one spot to another... well, here's the answer.
And while waiting for Sally to get back I had time to hit another bucket of balls. this time with a new caddie. The other one, disappointingly, just poured the balls into the hopper with the pedal to release a ball at a time. This one however placed each ball individually onto the hitting mat for me. But just like the other one she was full of applause and praise for anything that looked like a good shot.
Sally on the other hand had a date with a horse at nine in the morning.
Apparently the guide broke a branch off a tree and for most of the ride he kept whacking Sally's horse to make sure it was going fast enough!
She did have time to snap this bloke with a spare tire... I thought the whole point of riding a horse is that you don't have to worry about things like spare tires?
And Nora? Well, she woke up a bit tired and thirsty (for water)... but she had no money so she just had to wait for us to get back.
On cue, Bayar turned up to drive us back to Ulan Bator and our train.
A couple of last minute snaps and then it's all aboard.
And our last look back...
Nora looks as though she's doing a quick check... water, orange juice, peach tea, vodka, chips... all there - we'll be ok for the trip to China!
Then the ice-cream person came past. Not only did they have Mongolian ice-cream but also Russian... and I knew that would be good. But the question remains - Sally must have been into about 10 opticians/glasses shops with me on the trip so far - but how come she's never thought of buying herself a new pair of reading glasses?
It certainly looks like it was a bloody long train. I suppose it's a pretty important journey each day... a journey out of Mongolia.
And there were some stops on the way. Beautiful stations with station masters dressed up in the appropriate uniform and cap... and flag... and no other building to be seen! Weird.
Sally and Nora got all excited when it looked like we had our compartment all to ourselves. But they were to be disappointed. The other top bunk was taken after all. But eventually night fell, so the rest of the story belongs to tomorrow's installment...
[Well, that was Mongolia... the Esperanto Congress was not that exciting but I think we enjoyed the interkona vespero anyhow... how could we not considering the condition we were in when we turned up... and those huge beers they had for sale..
Our random taxi drivers into the countryside couldn't have been better, so that was pretty lucky..
I did indeed get to speak plenty of Mongolian and I'm inspired to keep learning - so no doubt I'll be back...
And thank you Odko... you made the trip special.]