Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Out and About, Mongolia

From Mongolia

For eight days James and I rode through Central Mongolia in this Russian van. It's hard to believe it's been two months since we left Mongolia. Actually, tomorrow marks a month I've been home. Looking through my pictures now it's almost surreal - that I was lucky enough to do and see the things we did.
Typical Yurt
Many nights we stayed in yurts just like this.
Waking up To Snow
They stay pretty cozy inside, as they all have a stove in the middle and the walls are heavily lined with carpets.
A family we stayed with
A couple nights we stayed with nomadic families. Our driver, Dasha, would bump around the desert until he found someone who was willing to put us up and feed us for $15. It never took long to find a place.
airag, fermented, alcoholic milk. tastes like creamy feta soda. (or I think it does)
tea and hard cheeses in yurt
We spent long hours driving. Sometimes we stopped into a yurt for tea or hard, sour cheeses. Often, Dasha would wave down whoever was passing by and they'd smoke and discuss directions. Besides "yak," "vodka" and "soup," Dasha didn't speak English. A finger pointed into the mouth meant food, eyes closed was find a place to sleep and he'd draw in the dirt to tell us how many kilometers we still had to go in a day.
typical town
The countryside was beautiful. It wasn't a very active part of our trip - as we spent a lot of time just sitting in the van, taking it in. But that was enough.
deer stone
Above is a deer stone, one of about 500 ancient stone carvings archaeologists have found around the country. No one really knows their purpose, says Wikipedia, but they're named for their illustrations of flying deer.
The rule in Mongolia is you most always pick up whoever needs a ride from one place to the next, and you always stop to help. A guy flagged us down to haul his teenage daughter into Ulan Bator. The country doesn't have many paved roads, and there are only about 3 million people. Mongolians don't make a big deal out of it, it's just the way it is.
James with chunky pony and guide
In Karakorum, ancient capital
More Karakorum
Flying a Kite in the Countryside
From Mongolia
Mongolians adopted the Cyrilic alphabet from Russia
Yak Skull
These stone mounds supposedly predate Buddhism. They're all over the countryside, still wrapped in blue sashes for worship.
From Mongolia

To see all my Mongolia countryside pictures, or to see these ones better, click on the Mongolia link below the first or last picture.

Sheesh, looking at these pictures gives me itchy feet!

1 comment:

sumanth said...

Very pretty indeed!