Mongolia /day 4
What’s new around the world or should I ask? Being in Western Mongolia without access to internet or cell service cuts you off from the world. The Kazakh people don’t care what is happening in the world. Imagine living without internet and cell service. These people do not care about the internet and cell service.
So what was it like spending my first night in a Ger tent? It is very cold here and by the way, snow is expected tomorrow. Fell asleep around 11 PM and was woken up at about 4 AM when a Kazakh woman came in to put a supply of dung in our stove. She first took out the waste and then brought the new dung in. The ger got very toasty and I even did not need a blanket for a while,. We all met in the dining room ger and had coffee and biscuits. It was then up in the mountains to take pictures of five eagle hunters. There is a symbiosis that exists between the eagle, hunter and horse. Each know their role and they work together. It was beyond cold this morning. It is very windy here and my fingers froze. We took lots of pictures of the five eagle hunters together and apart. Some were while they were moving and some were taken as they released their eagles. An awesome location and shoot.
We then went back for breakfast and rest. When you do a photo workshop you normally rest and or do classroom sessions with the leaders between 11 and around 3 or 4 o’clock. At 1 o’clock we had lunch. The Mongolian people consider it a sign of disrespect if you do not eat their meals. Even if you are full, you should sit at the table and eat a little. Such was awesome. First started with hot vegetable soup. Delicious. Then the main course of mutton. The mutton was barbecued on hot rocks and then brought into us on a large platter on top of the hot rocks. After we finished the mutton, which was beyond delicious, we were each given a hot rock to hold in our hands. We were told that this was good for your blood pressure. I then walked around this small village and wandered into one house. There was an elderly woman frying dough like zepole. She offered me a seat and offered my some of the fried dough while we talked. The people do not eat bread, but this fired dough made in all different types of shapes and thickness. We talked about how she lives here and I was amazed hearing about her world versus our world. After I walked back to the dining and meeting ger, Zaya and her staff took only me on a ride throughout the mountains. No pat ed roads, but over rocks, stones and various ups and downs.
At 3 PM we all gathered for our afternoon shoot. We drove about ten minutes out to a river and five eagle hunters met us there. By the way, these people have been eagle hunting for over twelve hundred years. Two other participants saw two eagle hunters bring back a fox to the village. They gave the head to the eagles as a reward and skinned the rest for its fur and hide. They make hats out of the fur and hide. Very popular with them. The five eagle hunters galloped through the river individually and we took various shots of them doing this. What you do is you shoot in burst mode meaning that you take lots of images as the eagle hunter gallops through the river. We then took portraits of them with their horses and eagles. Got some great up close portraits. Had dinner and it is now time for me to crawl into my ger, go under the blankets and get some rest.
Tomorrow we are going to a private eagle festival where there will be over fifty eagle hunters competing and vendors selling things that they hand made. We will be the only foreigners there. A v very rare opportunity to see and experience an event that outsiders rarely see.
Tomorrow night will have internet access and partially fall back into the REAL World