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Off to the desert - Day 1

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So the trip started with a short ride to the bus station, bus stations are always pretty crazy places and this one was no exception:

Bus station

People in Ulanbataar cant drive for shit, there's no concept of "right of way". If someone cuts you up or gets in the way you just lean on the horn and swear out the window at them, this made the bus stop a pretty colourful place...

I arrived a good hour early to make sure that I got the bus ok, however all of the bus signs are in cyrillic so it took me most of that time to find the right bus, jumped on and crammed myself into the seat. Sorted, nothing to do now but wait 6 hours..

The bus left at 8am, about an hour later the road abruptly ended and turned into a gravel track, then about an hour after that it turned into a dirt track. I'm thinking "Ok, maybe this just leads to another, better road".

Nuh uh:

about 4 hours into the drive we stopped for refreshments, notice how there is nothing here at all(click it for full size)

nothing

So we keep on going, I spotted Eagles, Goats, Dogs, Wild horses, lizards and camels out of the window. Also for the first time ever I saw a dust devil.

We arrived at Mandelgovi at about 2pm and had a short jeep ride to the Ger To Ger offices to pay for the trip and jeep ride. Once that was all over we hopped in the jeep to head over to the first Ger for some tea

The jeep ride was... interesting. I still cant work out how anyone can find their way around out there, there are no signposts and very few landmarks to go by, but still we got there with no problems:

the trusty jeep

Its one bumpy-ass ride out there..

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Its very empty out here

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Lots of things have died here. Lots of things.

guard dogs

Every Ger has a guard dog, theyre usually pretty wild crazy dogs that havent been domesticated to a great degree. I tried to ask the owner what the dogs ate, but due to some great misunderstandings she thought I wanted to eat the dog. Cue lots of apologising.

Turns out the dogs eat whatever they can kill. Nice. I saw one dog dragging a dead animal at one point.

So after some tea (mongolian tea, its milk, salt and shitty-tea-ends) and a little walk round the owners son came back with a camel and trailer for the 8km walk to the next Ger.

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The sunsets out in the desert areas are awesome

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The family at this Ger were very nice, the two kids were very excited when we all arrived and helped us all set up our tents, nose around our bags and teach us Mongolian. I taught them how to make paper planes (they'd never seen one before) and now the Ger site is covered in them :)

The head of the family is a herder, he has a large number of sheep, goats and horses. So many horses.

The sky at night is so amazingly clear as well, i tried to get photos but couldnt get them right :/ The milky way was visible right across the sky too :)

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