Ger and Nomad's Food
(Long Beach, California, USA)
Inside ger guesthouse
Ger and Nomad's Food
This wasn't exactly a "family stay" - it was a true working ger in a gorgeous part of Terelj, but all the men in the family were gone, so the lady of the house had an extra ger for paid guests, like a hotel. A ger is a round tent like a yurt. They can put one up in a couple of hours. There are rules in the ger - no whistling, no walking between the 2 center poles, always enter and walk to the left. We were offered Mongolian specialties - dairy products are called "white food" - there was cheese (which had that ripe, unpasteurized...maybe from a goat or sheep taste, but no salt or flavoring at all) and dried cream (which was just a little toooo ripe for me...it had the consistency of scrambled eggs), and there were fried dough pieces.
Tsarana and Tumoor dove in and put the fried dough in the dried cream. Comfort food for them. The lady also offered tea-flavored milk with no sugar. I had a little of everything to be polite, but it was truly not good!!
There are no bathrooms...I don't understand how they do this on a daily basis...not even an outhouse with a hole...in the daytime you have to find somewhere you can have privacy (not easy to do in the open steppe), in this case a grove of trees about a ten minute walk up the hill. Tumoor escorted me up the first time. He speaks no English so I made the "gotta pee" sign and ditched him, but he waited and walked down with me. We sat down at some point (there's a lot of climbing up somewhere and then sitting for a while.
...not much else to do) and I took out my Mongolian book and got an impromptu language lesson for 15 minutes.
We watched the mom and her two daughters milk the cows and pump the water for all the livestock (they kept sheep and goats too), and then Tsarana made a potato curry over rice for dinner and we all went to bed early. The only other place I've seen as many stars was the Egyptian desert.
The lady came in with fresh yogurt for breakfast (now THAT was good) which we put muesli on, and had more sweet buns. Then we drove on very bumpy dirt roads to another national park, Manzushir, stopping first in the Aimag (county) center which was a big enough town (although just as ugly and rundown as UB) and it's where we got the horses.