Picture Mongolia

August 8th, 2008 Comments Off on Picture Mongolia

I haven’t said near enough about Mongolia and our adventures there… there was too much to do and too little internet access. Now we’re in Korea (yes! miracles happened and we made it), and there will be new stories to collect. To give you a flavor of Mongolia, I’m posting several photos, but stay on the lookout for Flickr albums coming soon…

Mongolia is all about the land, and there’s one stunning landscape after another on any drive or flight between here and there. This image was taken on our journey between Olgii and Hovd towards the end of our trip. And because there are few paved roads in Mongolia, and the terrain is so rugged, no trip is complete without the requisite breakdown or flat tire.

The most common type of restaurant found outside of Ulaan Baatar is called a guanz (canteen)–perhaps the origin of the term ‘hole in the wall’. And withing the guanz, the most common food is, of course, mutton-based and greasy. Buuz (steamed mutton dumplings) and kuushuur (fried mutton pancakes) are pictured here.

The public shower
Most hotels or ger camps don’t have hot water showers (if they have a shower at all), so if you want to bathe with something other than ice-cold water, a visit to the public bath/shower is in order! For the equivlanet of $1.00, all the hot water you can stand is yours. Never mind the aesthetic of the place–Mongolia is a time capsule of Russian Bolshevik architecture and glum aesthetics. Because it’s not convenient to go every day, we spent much of our time in Mongolia between showers.

Strawberry Ger Camp
Our last few days in Mongolia were spent at the Strawberry Ger Camp in Hovd, run by a school teacher named Amarraa, who’s set up a few gers during the summer break on the school’s grounds, and charges tourists a little over $4.00 per night. Nomads live in gers, so they can be erected and dismantled quickly. We discovered a plate of ankle bones under our bed one morning–perhaps a shamanistic ritual or misplaced keepsake? Who knows…  bones are a common sight around Mongolia–walking anywhere there always seems to be a discarded bone (or hoof or skull) in the dusty street or sidewalk.

Traditional clothing
Amarra keeps traditional costumes on hand for tourists to play dress up.

The Hovd airport

The tiny airport in Hovd, as experienced on our arrival to a flight on August 7 that had departed 5 hours early. The first image is a view back to town (Benjamin’s 5km walk)

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