Mongolia 2

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

Riding a Mongolian horse around the White Lake was a great experience. I actually had this crazy idea of buying a horse in Mongolia and ride all the way back to the Netherlands, but my travel mate convinced me that was just stupid/insane. Therefore, I settled for a few rides around the lakes, and I have to admit it was... almost enough. I rode until I reached the Volcano, which offered a great view of the lake and the hills, and rode back to the Ger. When I arrived, I was greeted with a special dish - Marmot meat. It was so much better than I could ever have expected. Soft, tender, greasy and with a very unique taste... it reminded me a little of Capivara, which was actually the best meat I ever had in my life. We spent another night at the White Lake, and continued our journey towards Khovsgol Lake, the main destination of that tour. 

On the way there, we stopped at a few temples, like the ruins of Kharkhorum, the ancient Mongolian capital (of which we did not manage to take pictures), and Erdene Zuu. The view along the way was quite impressive as well, but I have to say I got tired of the food after a few days. Another very amusing perk of the trip were the frequent encounters with groups of cows, sheep and wild horses. Our driver evidently enjoyed it more than anyone else, because it gave him reason to honk as much as he wanted to, for quite a long time. He opened a big smile every time this happened. 

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

Then, we finally reached the Khovsgol Lake - called the Blue Pearl of Mongolia. I swear I had never seen such bright, fascinating blue. I was mesmerized by it, and spent as much time as I could just staring at it. We also rode horses around the lake, and that was another great day, with great weather and great views. The family hosting us had a huge Yak for all sorts of heavy labour, and I went along on a trip to retrieve water from the lake. The big beast was well trained, and performed the whole drill without hesitation, but it was clearly working against its will. We pulled it by a ring in its nose, which I imagine MUST be painful. Seeing so many of its kind running free through the steppes, I had to feel a bit sorry for it. 

We spent two nights there, one of which was our driver's birthday. We gathered round with the family hosting us and the guides of another group staying there, and a few French tourists for a few drinks. I thought I would finally witness the great Mongolian drinking prowess, legendary among other peoples. As we settled down, around 19.00, the father, who managed the Ger camp, was already wasted beyond salvation, singing loudly and being made fun of by his son and wife. He left one hour later, leaving us with three bottles of vodka and a gallon of airag. Soon after, all other Mongolians were also pretty drunk, having a hard time communicating or even walking straight. While I was quite drunk myself, I was disappointed to see that they were knocked out much earlier than I expected, and that the legends were not so true. On the other hand, it was great to hear everyone sing traditional songs from their own countries - Mongolians and French did a great job, as was the case with my Italian travel mate. Unfortunately, I couldn't sing even if my life depended on it, and I made a poor job of representing traditional Brazilian music.

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

I was actually quite sorry that I had to leave the place - I could have spent a much longer time enjoying that amazing blue that I have only seen there and the late night drinking and singing sessions.

From there we had a few more stops - temples and a few cities. Worth mentioning are the Amarbayasgalant temple and Moron city. I have never been in such a dark, haunted city. I went out for a walk after dinner, and I obviously got lost in the dark streets, and it took me a while to get back to the Ger. During that trip, under a full moon (thankfully, because the streets were horribly lit) I saw an impressive amount of stray dogs, big ones too. It was really remarkable. The scariest part was that during the night, every single one of them barked non stop. It was a relentless, haunting, scary night. 
The temple was a more pleasant experience, with great statues and an amazing view. From there, we spent a few days on the road, going back to UlaanBaatar. 

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

1 comment:

  1. Hahahahahaha! The picture of you in the blue suit on the horse made me laugh so hard! I'm happy to know that you're enjoying yourself. Takeiteasy!