It’s me again and for the last time until the next time. Hope everyone is well, beautiful and happy. I writing this last blog on Mongolia and the Gobi with mixed emotions. Have been away since September 26 and greatly miss the people who receive this blog and of course, especially my beautiful wife, great children and super great grandchildren. Onto today
The Waldorf Astoria Ger Camp was great. Stayed up until around 1 AM editing my photos for Olivia’s review. Final count 10,667 images. That’s right 10,667 images. I need a life. Why did I take so many images and who cares? I have been shooting in burst or continuous shooting mode. If a subject is constantly moving, such as Eagle Hunters, Horses, Camels etc. you want to start shooting from the point you pick and keep on shooting until the image is complete. When you see photographers shooting on the sidelines of sporting events, they are shooting in continuous mode. Someone then reviews the pictures and picks out the best from that sequence. It is like shooting a machine gun and sounds that way. Don ‘t tell me that you are going to post 10,667 images. I promise I will not. I plan on presenting to Olivia around 200 and she will probably fiddle it down to 50-75 for your review. Andy took over 11,500 images. So I am not crazy. Just following the master. By the way, I won the best picture contest. Kevin said he was standing next to me when I took it. I saw it. One of my subscribers and close friend and client has commented about too much potty talk. One more potty talk and then that’s it. Being 68, I wake up a few times a night to do you know what. Last night I woke up and went outside to find the Mongolian toilet. Don’t forget my Ger had a private toilet and shower. When I came back I realized my mistake. I hope I can correct this new trait soon or leave Mongolia on the next flight out. Now no more potty talk. Breakfast was great. The Waldorf did not disappoint. Lot’s of great food and coffee. We also talked how the next workshop could be situated here. Kip suggested that we bring 70 Eagle Hunters, the Camel and Horse herders and about 100 million tons of sand over from the other side of the Gobi. Andy promises he will be working on that plan.
We left at around 8:30 for our long ride back to UB. Drove over flat desert terrain for as far as the eye could see. Andy saw a large herd of sheep and we pulled over. Kip launched his drone to take videos over the herd. One problem, when the sheep heard the drone, they immediately took off and I mean not just one sheep but the whole herd. We decided that the Gobi herders should all get drones to herd their livestock. No more motorbikes and horses for them. We finally got to a paved road and off we went or so we thought. At about 11:30 one of the vehicles, not mine, decided to not behave and we all pulled over. Bear in mind we are still in the Gobi. The vehicle had developed some kind of axel problem after the drivers took one wheel off and told us that they needed a part in the next town wherever that is. We all are amazed by the two drivers. They are mechanics as well as drivers. They can fix vehicles on the road better and faster than anyone I have ever seen. Zaya had bought some Camel milk for me to try. I can tell you, without any question, it is not for everyone. Sour and creamy. As we all realized that this will be a lengthy delay, I decided to say my goodbyes to the beautiful Gobi in the only way I know how. I laid down on the Gobi and fell asleep while the Gobi sun and sand embraced me in a final farewell. Kevin has told me I will be finding sand in my clothes and on my body for the next few weeks. Andy brought a bag full of the sand back for his wife. I slept for over two hours and had probably my most relaxing sleep in three weeks. The Gobi gave me this farewell gift as a remembrance and thanks for falling in love with her. Another vehicle arrived at around 2:30 and we were all off to UB. What a long journey. Over more desert with horses, sheep and camels grazing and wandering over the road. At about 4 PM we finally left the Gobi and arrived in UB at around 9 PM. Back to our original hotel and farewell dinner. One odd occurrence right outside UB. The police were stopping each vehicle coming into the city. The vehicle was then sprayed by two men wearing hazmat suits. The tires and under the vehicles were sprayed. I asked Kevin why. He said there have been a few cases of hoof and mouth disease and this is protection against the disease. A new one for me.
I hope everyone is thinking what will this guy have for his final dinner in Mongolia. What do you eat your last night here? Sheep Head. That’s right Sheep head. Zaya and myself shared a sheep head and she instructed me I which parts are good, such as the eyes, and how to eat each part. I dug in and enjoyed.
My final comments and thoughts. I have been to many countries and the only two countries I would and will revisit are New Zealand and Mongolia. Hopefully, the revisit will be with my great wife. Yes I am tired and drained. Photo workshops are not easy. I need some serious time moping. Andy has corrected my spelling. Mongolia was always a sort of mystical place that was there and no one knows much about it. It was high up on my bucket list. I wanted to experience Mongolia in a non tourist way. To see and live the real Mongolia. Andy and Kevin have accomplished that. Zaya has been a great part of the journey. Telling us so many different and beautiful customs and helping me with my every need and question. The real Mongolia is spending three days in a Ger tent and witnessing the beauty and grace of the Eagle Hunters as well as the hospitality and beauty of Aisophan and her family. Then going to the Gobi. A part of the world that most of us would only dream about and never step into. An original poor boy from Brooklyn going to the Gobi. Spending time with the horse and camel herders in their Ger tents. Seeing their hospitality and beautiful smiles. The one thing I will always remember about the Mongolian people is their innocence. How beautiful that is. To find that in this insane and crazy world makes my whole trip worthwhile. I told Zaya to never loose that. It is a precious gift and needs to preserved.
Concerning tomorrow. I am leaving on Air China from UB to Beijing. From Beijing to San Francisco and then onto NY. Have one problem with my flights, My flight schedule says I am leaving Beijing at 3:35 PM and arriving in San Francisco at 12:20 PM. Let me get this straight, I arrive in San Francisco before I leave Beijing. Some serious jet lag will be coming. I have fully charged my faithful MAC and brick (large battery) so that I can further edit on my flights.
Hope everyone has enjoyed this adventure.