Unexpected guests - nomadic hospitality
by Philip Deaton
(Harrogate, England, UK)
Nomads in Mongolia
Day 5 signaled the beginning of our journey back to Ulaanbaatar. We decided to catch an early start and set off shortly after sunrise, sad to be leaving such a beautiful part of the World behind. After a couple of hours driving, we came across 4 eagles, 1 of which was sat in the road. Harry and i followed it a short distance, before it flew into the air to join its 3 buddies in the air currents. It was a really inspiring moment, seeing such magestic creatures so close up and in the wild.
We had a brief stop for lunch, which was the Spanish omlette Ed had cooked the previous night, before cracking on towards Ogii Lake. As the afternoon was drawing to a close, we began seeing countless numbers of hawks, before we came across a large group of camels grazing. It was quite a shock as it was an animal i knew was found in Mongolia, but thought they were wild and extremely difficult to spot. After a few photos, we pushed on for the last stint of our journey.
We arrived at our ger, just as the sun was setting and realized that the owner was clearly not expecting us. She quickly gathered some coal for the burner and did a great job of whipping up some rice at short notice, to fill the hungry hoarders. We got another early night, which proved a good thing, as it was pretty hard to sleep due to the freezing conditions.
We awoke on the 6th and final day of our trip and upon venturing out of our ger, saw Ogii Lake was surrounded by snow. The weather was well below freezing, so we decided to pack the van and make a quick getaway. Around lunchtime, we stopped off at the Tsogtyn Balgas ruins, which used to be a fortress within Mongolia, dating back to 700AD. After a brief clamber around, we were invited in for a few snacks with a family who lived at the ruins. The Dad then brought out his hunting gun and Ed's eyes lit up. The two then had a shooting competition at some empty water bottles, with England ending up triumphant!
We got back on the road, and the weather really took a turn for the worse, but this didn't bother us too much as there wasn't much to see and we had several sleepy sets of eyes in the van. We eventually reached Ulaanbaatar around 15.30, exhausted, smelly and hungry, but delighted at the way everything had gone.