Gobi desert and South Mongolia – Mongolia

This is a two part post. Start reading here: http://travel.renedissel.com/?p=412

Day 5.

It’s a long driving day. Today we will drive all the way to the Gobi dessert. The drive is again really beautiful and camels start appearing everywhere. Too bad we can’t find the family that Gans intended us to stay. They moved away it appeared. We stay with another local family instead. They have a big group of camels around their camp and where having fun but Gans doesn’t trust them. “All they talk about is money.. That’s not normal…” he tells us.

All I can see are the camels. I love these guys! They are ugly looking and act stupid. Kinda makes me relate to them! 😆

 

Day 6.

Gans doesn’t want us to take any chances. We pack our bags instead of leaving them at the camp before we head to the huge Gobi dunes that challenge us in the distance. We can walk all the way up and it wasn’t as hard as I imagined. Leentje had some trouble keeping up at first but everyone took it easy.

The view at the top is just amazing. And with a little moon still up there isn’t a better setting than this.

While skiing down the sand flows like water. Too bad we didn’t bring any sleds, that would have been even better!

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Back at the camp I get back with my buddies, the camels! And we have lunch. Brecht and Leentje are vegetarian and they have agreed with Gans to make as many veggie meals as possible. That’s a good thing for me because Mongolians really eat only meat. In an extreme way. They don’t understand why we would even eat vegetables… “Goat eat vegetables… We eat goat! ” is the only thing they think! If you look an Mongolian in the eye you can sometimes see that the white in their eyes has turned yellow. They say it’s caused by vitamin deficiency (shortage of vitamins). Gans is convinced that the skin tone and roughness is also different among the Mongolians because of this.

We head for a small village to resupply and as dogs eats a horse’s head (a popular pass-time here for dogs) we pick up an old lady.

She is the wife of a famous camel polo rider. When we enter her Ger a large cloth of medals was hung up! First we would gather wood for the night and tomorrow we would ride camels (as long as it go’s better than my horse riding experience…). There is a small sandstorm on its way and it turns the sky into an amazing site. We eat our (really tasty) horse dumplings and head for bed.

 

Day 7.

We saddle up the camels and we head out. No polo playing but just a hour long ride across the desert. Camels are really comfortable to ride around I must say. It still makes you look funny when you’re sitting on one, though.

 

It’s good fun and I can’t even imagining how someone could ever play polo on these animals (but I bet its funny looking). We head for the flaming rocks in the car for a short view.

This is the place where they found the first dinosaur eggs  (national geographic, 1920) which proved that dinosaurs laid eggs. Our car continuous while the sun sets in an amazing way. I make some pictures and mister Saturday is asking what I’m doing. I explain that I really like the sunset.

He laughs and thinks it’s weird… It’s the most normal sunset…. He speaks no English so Gans is translating for him. “How long have I been traveling?”.  “13 months so far” I tell him. He laughs and tells me that I must be a really bad son. To be so long from home is just weird for him. I love this guy, haha 😛

Gans is getting a bit nervous because there is a great snowstorm on the way. We need to leave early but it’s getting dark quickly and were getting lost all the time because we keep losing the tracks we follow back to the hard road. Every Ger we stop to ask directions points in another way and tells us different distances. Time to ask Gans about any horror stories and if they got stuck anywhere.

He knows what to do when that happens so I’m not troubled about it. In time we find the tracks again and hit the hard road again. After the 10 hour ride we finally get to our last Ger. It’s snowing and really cold. Everyone goes to sleep quickly.

 

Day 8.

Some of us where really cold this night. And that not to weird when we go outside. Everything is snowed under and our host family is already clearing the snow from the roof of the Ger’s. The poor livestock look like they have a rough time but I’m assured that they are used to it.

 

 

What a scenery! I feel like I walked in a BBC documentary. I can hear David Addingbourk giving commentary. Everything is white and its really cold.

As we get ready I look at the people working hard to move their goats already. The crows and dogs take a last nibble of a horse’s head but in every other way the surrounding area doesn’t look anything like country I was traveling through for the last 7 days.

 

You surpass all my expectations, Mongolia! I would love to come back here in the summer one day.

Also thanks to Brecht, Leentje, Fleur and Lotte for putting up with me during this amazing trip!

Cheers,

René