Western and Southern Mongolia
by Bailey and Kerry
Eyup! Just spent 3 weeks in Mongolia and rarely saw electricity never mind the Internet so this entry is a bit long! We spent 4 days horse riding in Central Mongolia, 4 in the capital Ulaanbaatar, and 11 on a 2000km journey around Western and Southern Mongolia in a jeep.
Before commencing our journey the hostel owner stressed the importance of forming a good team between us, our English companions Josh, and Sophie, our guide, Muktour, and our Vodka loving driver (nobody knew his name). 2 Hours into the journey I went for a piss on to what looked like a pile of rubble but was in fact a Buddhist prayer offering. Hardly a good start. Needing the toilet anywhere in Mongolia is fraught with difficulties. You either go for it in the open or trek to a disgustingly foul wooden shack with a hole between some wooden planks. I was pissing outside at dusk when a huge yak started taking an uncomfortable interest. I had been playing chicken with them all day and sensing my vulnerable position this hairy beast walked menacingly towards me. Trying to move position in a foot of snow with a yaks eyes fixated on your open fly isn't easy, particularly when this beast had a horn the size of my arm. I managed a few tentative steps when the yak stopped, bent down, and
slurped up every drop of my steaming urine. The next morning a wild dog followed me into the woods and ate my shit, returning to the ger with his teeth stained brown. Kerry had just commented on how cute he was.
Throughout our trip it felt like we were on some kind of safari. In central and western Mongolia we drove through 1000km of what felt like the worlds largest farmyard. Wild horses, yak, cows, sheep and goats were everywhere in herds that often numbered over 100. The nomadic families we stayed with kept between 300-500 animals. In the Gobi desert of Southern Mongolia we drove amongst eagles, gazelle, fox, condor, and thousands of horses and 2 humped camels. Whilst animals were everywhere we would often drive for hours without seeing a single other vehicle and passing only a couple of solitary gers. There was also no apparent form of road system. What appeared as a main road was actually an uneven collection of dirt and gravel and what appeared as a secondary road was in fact a collection of tire tracks. We never saw a road sign and our driver had directions for 400km drawn on a piece of scrap paper that resembled a 4 year old drawing; it looked like go left of the big mountain, avoid the rock on the right and follow the forest through the valley.