Camping Mongolia Style

25 Sep

We loaded up the S. Korean bus and headed out of Ulaan Baatar, capital city, in search of our authentic, nomadic, Mongolia GER camp. Just a quick 411. It’s a camp comprised of yurts. Following me here? According to Wikipedia, a yurt is a portable, felt-covered, wood framed dwelling structure used by nomads. A yurt is a home more than a tent. They are popular among nomads. We were going to a camp, run by Mongolian “nomads” and staying the night in a yurt. Got it….

The roads leading out of the city into the country side are what you expect – pot holes, dusty and fairly non-existent. Construction is everywhere – I mean, things are hoping. I asked if the government is building these roads. The bus driver, Mia, said “no, private business. Private business interested in tourism, copper, coal and minerals. Government makes deal with them – part of it is to build roads.” Well, that’s good. This blog, I’m going to show more pictures than words for I can’t describe in full detail the vastness and beauty of Mongolia.

We did make a brief pit-stop in our 3 hour journey. A private company has bought acres upon acres of land in no-where-ville. Their goal is to have the first large scale tourist attraction in Mongolia. Instead of hotels, they are building 200+ yerts. It’s the Disney world of Mongolia.

So far, they’ve erected a HUGE statue of Genghis Khan riding his horse. It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever seen. Phase I is completed. Looks like Phase II is irrigation. Need green in the desert. Next, is the foot print for the yerts. And, don’t forget the toilets. Back to Disney….Mr. Walt bought all this useless Florida swamp land. He built a castle. Branded a mouse. Open the doors. The crazies came…

We’re greeted at the GER camp by a Mongolian family. Hot water. Hot tea. Hot anything would work at this point. We dropped our bags at our yerts (tents) – which are fully stocked with real beds, real wool blankets and a real iron stove – and set off in search of the Mongolian ponies. I’m 6 feet. Ponies don’t work well with TallGirl. My feet were almost dragging on the ground. But, hell, if the Khan family conquered China and Russia on these things, they must be sturdy and could handle a 6 footer.

We’re off. Sauntering along. Ponies are good. We’re laughing. We’re talking. Until, Mongolian pony is spooked. Possibly stung by a bee. Bucking. Bucking. And, David from Belgium goes flying. Flying. Flying. Then, Dave from Canada goes flying. Both Davids are on the ground.

The horse is bucking and hauling ass the down the street. Both Davids get up. They’re fine – or so we thought.

Mongolian horse man goes after the horse. Mash, our fearless Mongolian leader, is just sitting on his horse. He gets off. Just stares. Meanwhile, I’m the only one that has ridden. I get off my horse. I get the girls off their horses. Don’t want another horse to be spooked. And, we all go over the comfort the Daves. It looks like Canadian Dave dislocated his shoulder. One arm is longer than the other. Not a good thing when you’re in no-where-ville, Mongolia.

I go to Mash, “are you going to call someone? Dave needs a ride to the hospital? Car? What are you doing?” He looks stunned. He gets his cell phone and says, “I have no connection here.” DUH. We’re in the mountains of Mongolia.

Mongolian horse man comes back with bucking pony, that now appears calm and takes a dump. Mash and horse man exchange Mongolian words. Horse man gets back on his horse and hauls ass – again – for camp to get the car. Long story short, Dave went to the hospital. They put is arm back in the socket and he was loaded up with shots and pills. He’s drugged. He’s good.

After the commotion, the rest of us got back on our horses to finish our trek. No one was scarred by the bucking incident. Even David from Belgium got back on his horse.

That night, we had another large meal of meat, dumplings and more meat. They said, “no horse meat,” but who knows… Maybe it was camel. Our yurt was a zillion degrees inside. They stocked the iron stove. So comfortable. We crawled into our beds and waited for the fire to go out and the cold to seep in.

By 3 AM, its negative degrees inside. I put my green cashmere hat on my head. So warm. Around 7 AM, the Mongolian daughter knocks on our tent door and restart the fire. YEA. Not getting out of this bed until it is warm. About 30 mins later, I think we were reaching 70 degrees inside. YEA! Changed and headed up for some more food. Before that, Kiki and I went for a mini-hike to stretch our legs.

It was a brilliant time. Brilliant. Well, besides the hospital trip… Enjoy pictures below.

2 Responses to “Camping Mongolia Style”

  1. ktlou 05/10/2010 at 8:31 pm #

    My vote: 40th bday party in a yurt!!

  2. MaryStuart (sister) 05/10/2010 at 10:49 pm #

    Wow! They look like something you can buy at “Outdoor World”. Way too cold….how are you doing it?? I am so impressed. This place looks cold by the lack of vegitation. but it is pretty! where are the potties? No potty talk? I am lost without knowing where you went potty. Love you!