Gobi Day 5
So lets get back to last night after writing my blog in Hemingway style. What is Hemingway style? Hemingway always wrote standing up and never sat down. Imagine writing one of his books standing up. I stood up and wrote Gobi Day 4.
At 10 PM I opened my Ger tent and was met with a rush of cold air. The Gobi is the windiest part of Mongolia. The wind was making a great raucous. I then went back to the main house and asked the people to start my Ger stove to heat the Ger. They did not speak English and I, of course, did not speak Mongolian. By the way, Zaya told me that Mongolian is totally different than Chinese. The writing looks similar, but she assures me its not even close. I then spoke to them through creating a picture using my hands. They finally understood. About fifteen minutes later, they met me in my Ger and put in some wood and gray looking bricks and then started the stove. About thirty minutes later, the Ger had not warmed up. I looked inside the stove and the fire had gone out. I then put on layers and used three wool blankets and tried to fall asleep. It was so cold that I read almost all night. Finished the new Dan Brown book “Origins”. Pass on it. Finally fell asleep around 4 AM and then got up and went to the reliable Mongolian toilet and fell back to sleep until 6:30 AM. Remember I told you that there is an opening at the top of the Ger where the chimney exists. That opening is usually closed at night. Mine was open. Said to myself, its time to get up, get dressed and find some coffee. We all met at 8:00 AM for breakfast and left at 8:30 AM. I want to point out that if you want to see the sand dunes and do what we did in this part of the Gobi, we were staying in the best facilities money could buy. Most tour groups do not come to this part of the Gobi. I was glad I did, but the facilities are not for everyone. Furthermore, to back track a little. The two days that we spent in the Ger tents in Western Mongolia were with a local family. Those Ger tents are now taken down. When and if tour groups want to see any Eagle Hunters, they would have to stay in Olgii, preferably at the “Eagles;es Nest” and try to hook up with a local family to see the Eagle Hunters. We had a very unique and once in a lifetime experience. This experience was mainly set up by Kevin. He has made nine trips to Mongolia and knows everyone.
Back to day 5 in the Gobi. We then drove through miles and miles of flat open desert with snow capped mountains on the side of us. We went through a mountain pass and when we arrived on the other side, saw flat and open desert all the way to the horizon. When I asked Gambo where we were going, he pointed straight ahead. I have been to some very remote and desolate places in my travels, but nothing like this. We were the only two vehicles for as far as you can see. No paved road. Only flat sagebrush type of desert to the horizon. How weird is that. I figured who could live in this type of environment and why. We began to pass scattered Ger tents and finally saw camels, horses, sheep and cattle herds. We saw black and white colored gazelle type of animals racing over the desert. They were too fast to photograph, but a site to behold. We finally passed a watering hole. You can tell it is a watering hole since lot’s of camels and horses were all gathered together drinking. Hope some of these photos are worthy for you to see. We finally arrived at a local town in the middle of this barren and I thought, lifeless area. Zaya told me that the town is well known for vegetables and that there are many local greenhouses . How weird is that. Growing vegetables here. We stopped for gas and for Andy and Kevin to get their ice cream fix. It was now onto the Flaming Cliffs and our last Ger Camp. I am now dreaming of a hot shower and toilet seat. Kip said we all need “A Shower”. How appropriate. We first stopped at the flaming Cliffs to scout out the location for our evening sunset shoot. Andy and Kevin both walked around and studied the location. The Flaming Cliffs look much like parts of Sedona and New Mexico. The deep rock and clay type mixture that is so beautiful. It was then off to our Ger Camp. I said to myself, “Oh no another night of sleeping in my clothes, freezing, no shower, no electricity and using the Mongolian toilet. We pulled up and when we got into our Gers, I was pleasantly surprised. A Ger with heat, electricity, shower and toilet. I felt like locking myself in the Ger and staying there until we leave tomorrow morning. This is the Ger Camp that almost all tourists go to. All the modern day conveniences. These groups never see what we saw and experienced. Was it worth the no electricity, no internet, no shower and using the now famous Mongolian toilet? You decide. I Say an affirmative YES with no doubt about it. I am the oldest one in the group by eleven years and I survived and really experienced the real Mongolia and Gobi. No fake tourist stuff for me.
We then had lunch. Great pumpkin soup and local chicken dish. We then rested and took long hot showers and got reintroduced to our toilets. While I was enjoying myself, I looked outside and saw a long line of horses following a lead horse. There is a watering hole near the Ger Camp and these horses were going home from their daily trip to the watering hole. How beautiful this site was. I immediately grabbed my camera and off I went.
It was now time for our evening shoot. Both vehicles left and when we were a few miles from the Flaming Cliffs, one vehicle started to smoke. There was something wrong with the transmission. We all piled into the other vehicle for our short remaining trip. We set up and watched the sun setting on the Flaming Cliffs. The only sound was our clicking. By the way, Kip brought a drone. The drone takes great videos and pictures and he controls it through a control panel. He has been using it in the Gobi. The Mongolian drivers have been fascinated by it. One vehicle returned for us and Zaya told us that the drivers can fix the vehicle, but need a special tool that they did not have. We left the other vehicle in the Gobi and all squeezed into one vehicle. I do not know where they could ever get a tool here. We will find out soon.
It was then time for dinner in the Waldorf Astoria Ger Camp. Tomorrow is Kevin’s fiftieth birthday. A special cake was made for him and the staff and us all sang Happy Birthday. Dinner was great. A burger made from fresh Mongolian beef. We are the only guests here as the Camp is getting ready to close for the season. They will reopen in May.
It is now time for me to crawl back into my luxurious Ger tent and further reacquaint myself with the way we live. By the way, no TV and of course, internet.
Will be leaving at 8 AM for UB and our final dinner. What will dinner be? What do you eat the last night in Mongolia? Can anyone even try to guess? Stay tuned.