Today's ride was very rough. We made very slow progress, and even though the scenery was once again beautiful, I simple couldn't bring up the enthusiasm of the earlier days because the road was so bumpy. Even Nora seemed to have a hard time today keeping focused, and one time he nearly drove the Uaz (and us in it) into a ditch.
In the afternoon we stopped at Yolyn Am, an area originally set up as a bird protection area, which is one of the most unusual sights in the Gobi. Smack in the middle of the desert, there is a small mountain range, which channels the winds in such a way that the floor of the gorge between the mountains is covered in a thick sheet of ice for most of the year.
We spent the night in Dalanzadgad, the capital city of the Omnogov aimag (South Gobi province). After three nights in various middles of nowhere it was a shock to be sleeping in a 'city' again. Even more so because Dalanzadgad is a truly awful place. The city was created in Soviet times as an administrative center for the region, and the two-street center is laid out in true Soviet style, with a wide avenue, some ugly concrete buildings on both sides, and some meaningless statue.
Around this 'center' people are basically still living as nomads in gers, with a fence around their garden. The sight of thousands of white gers sprawled over the hills, ramshackle fences, piles of rubbish and dusty unpaved streets gave the impression of being in a refugee camp rather than in a city.
Dalanzadgad had some bonuses though. This was the one place where we could stock up on supplies. As our beer had run out days ago, the visit to the supermarket was a welcome luxury. Another speck of civilization Dalanzadgad offered was that our ger had electricity. No candlelight tonight, but more importantly, we could recharge batteries of our cameras and MP3 players.