Mongolia Journal ~ Shenanigans on the steppes

I’m so behind in all my travel blogging! I’ve still got lots of Morocco to write up, but I found this post already drafted and the photos all selected and edited. So, please have some Mongolian shenanigans to combat your Mondayitus.

(How can it be nearly four years since I was in Mongolia?)


4 July 2015

Morning – day 10

We’ve just had breakfast — our usual fare of stale bread (three different kinds), jam and chocolate spread. With coffee of course. We believe we have just enough coffee bags between us for the rest of the trek. (Fingers crossed.)

Just another long, lazy morning on the steppes

Right now, we’re a little perplexed by the post-breakfast lull… The crew have climbed into the car with their devices (which they have been charging in the car — no devices for us!), leaving K and I sitting here with journals. We are poised to take down our tent when they start packing up and saddling horses. They really don’t like to get away early! It’s a bit frustrating, but on the other hand we’re not really in a rush, so the leisurely pace can be nice too.

I think it’s going to be another hot day. It’s been so much warmer here than I thought it would be. I would really like a shower and a bed and some clean clothes. My hair is green and slimy at the roots, but tangled like straw at the ends. Absolutely hideously disgustingly revolting.

Late afternoon – day 10

We had a fairly slow-paced ride this morning, mostly walking. It took about an hour to the place where we watered the horses — what a menagerie! Herds of horses, cows, goats and sheep all clustered around the trough. While we were there, a horse race thundered past, albeit at a distance. The horses were paced by vehicles and left a cloud of dust. We got to cuddle a baby goat, maybe two weeks old.

Kiddie cuddle at the water trough

Lunch was had on a hillside in full sun. It was incredibly windy today — all day. Lunch was a very long stop — longer than usual. Not sure why. Our team cooked a full meal as usual, so we waited, talked… then after lunch they weren’t in any hurry to move off so I dozed for about half an hour in the sun.

Lunch stop

After lunch we (that is, the horses) walked up and over some pretty steep hills. I felt awful making my horse climb the first one. At the top, there was a magnificent herd of horses, all looking at us, but we didn’t stop… It was time to go down a very rocky and windy descent. The horses went really slowly down… then at the bottom they had to go up again to meet the car.

Up, down and around a few hills

Breaking News! Our horses have escaped!

We’ve all been eating dinner while the horses grazed around the tents. They’re tethered in pairs, but not hobbled it seems, as they grazed further and further away… David (our driver) went to get them on foot, but the horses moved further and further away, doubling their distance — until they were actively running (trotting?) away from a jogging David.

He came running back to get the car, and he and Ganaa (our horse woman) have gone to chase them down. The horses are now out of sight. So is the car. We wait with baited breath… David has returned in the car without Ganaa… Ganaa has appeared in the distance with the horses in tow.

On the whole, I thought this entire escapade hysterical. We are very prone to hysterics at present, it seems. I went a bit manic when K told me my hair looked feral a few minutes ago.

Ahem… I was talking about the car stop. Something funny happened then too. We milled about having water, when Ganaa opened the back of the car and the sleeping bags fell out.

We were, you understand, perched on the edge of a hill. One of the sleeping bags teetered on the brink and then started rolling down the hill in slow motion. Tumble… roll… tumble… All the way to the bottom.

Ganaa started chasing, but gave up. I suspect she would have ridden a horse down after it, but just then a guy on a motorbike was descending the hill. He must have witnessed the debacle (or wondered what a sleeping bag was doing on the grass), so he collected it and brought it up to us. Pretty damn funny.

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