I woke up at about 8am, its hard to sleep in when theres a fucking bright sun over you and its 26 odd degrees outside.
The kids (known as Tutu and Dashamar - probably spelt wrong) came bounding out of the house to say good morning to everyone and bring us into the ger for breakfast. The usual breakfast of Mongolian Tea and fried doughnut bread was handed out and we were told that we'd be horseriding today - I've never ridden a horse before.
The head of the family (who's name I still cant pronounce or type) does wood carvings in his spare time, particularly chess pieces
SpecialDog vs the mongolian chess army
After breakfast I headed over to the toilet before we went riding, its something else...
yes this was a zoom lense, I didnt want to get any closer than I had to.
The family started getting the horses ready whilst I was shitting
Then its time for the goodbye photo
I'm waiting for the one with me in it to get emailed over by Sophie (in the picture)
We picked our horses out, I chose the one with the closest haircut to me (i.e. none at all) and hopped on. Sophie then yelled across "shout CHO and kick your heels to make them go" and off we went. Then my horse spotted food and stopped.
trot trot trot - ooh food!
needless to say I didnt get far and ended up being led by the father of the family. I havent got any photos from horseback, youre not meant to in case it spooks the horses, but I got some from the stops that we made en route
It started to look like something out of "The Ocarina of Time", I even had the themetune in my head as we started heading toward the Evil Mountains Of Mordor (as they got nicknamed)
Little did I know we'd be hiking through them in a few days..
Whilst we were riding I saw another Dust Devil and pointed it out to the guide who didnt seem to have a name for it in Mongolian. He just whirled his arms around and made swooshy noises
We arrived at another Ger for some tea and to pick up a horsecart for the next journey (12km to the overnight ger). One thing I noticed is that everyone loves to sing, the horse-guide sang when we left the camp, when we stopped for water, when we saw an eagle or wolf and even when we approched the other Ger. All the time he was singing :)
I popped outside the Ger to get some photos whilst the other two guys slept
I'm starting to like the landscapes here :)
This Ger had all the mod-cons, solar power, satellite TV and (I couldnt believe this) a Tivo. All connected to an ancient chinese black and white TV.
At about 6pm the horse cart was ready for the 12km trek to the last Ger of the day
The other two people on the cart are Matthew and Sophie - both French but Sophie lives in Mongolia as a teacher. Very handy having someone that can speak some of the language :)
Off we set at a nice steady pace, plenty of time to relax and snooze before we arrived. Just before we arrived a couple of wild horses spotted us and came over for a look. Its amazing how close they came before getting startled, at one point they were following us to one side for about 5 minutes before dashing off
We arrived at the final Ger to an enthusiastic hello from the guard dog, who was probably the most mental looking guide dog ever. He had that wierd thing where one eye was a different colour to the other. Scary but loveable at the same time.
The sun started to set and produced some amazing colours
This family looked after about 100 horses and as many goats, at night the goats all congregated on the rocks behind our tents:
If you've ever camped near 100 goats before you'll understand this phrase: orchestra of bodily sounds. For those that havent - the goats spent all night coughing, sneezing and farting loudly. Loudly enough for me to put my iPod on to hide from it all.
The dog came and sat by my tent for some reason too, my own personal guard dog :)