You-en? means What’s up?
Day 3 of Horse Trek
While we munching down on some breads & spreads for breakfast this morning, a few guys stopped out. I had assumed that Borka knew them before by the way they were acting, but no. Mongolian people are so warm and friendly that you can meet someone and they immediately treat you like a friend they’ve known for years. They hung out for a while and then helped us pack the horses and everything when it came time to head out. Two of them drove off on their little dirtbikes and one rode his horse alongside us for a while. (We see two of these guys again later this week.)
How the horses keep the flies away… Or try at least.
We headed out at about 11:15am and had kind of a slow start. We had to stop once because something was wrong with Karima’s saddle strap. Urna tried to fix it, but couldn’t get it so she switched her saddle strap with Karima’s. Then the guy that was riding alongside us offered to give Urna his strap and he would take the broken one since he can just get another one when he gets home. We started going again, but soon had to stop because something fell off of the pack horse. So then they had to repack the horse so it wouldn’t happen again. Then we were on our way!! We got to that night’s spot at about 6:00pm and traveled about 50 km.
Along the way, we saw a lot of bones (all animal bones as far as it looked) and shoes every now and then on the ground. This was a common thing throughout our journey. We stopped at a little convenience store to get some supplies. While we were there, we had the wonderful opportunity to use the outhouse. Now I don’t really have an issue with squat toilets, but when there is urine and fecies that don’t quite make it in the hole and flies buzzing everywhere, well then it’s a different story! Our guide even commented on how nasty it was, so that was good to know that this isn’t common. We got a little snack called a poroshke (not sure on the spelling), it was some kind of bread with meat and onions inside. Delish!
We stopped on a hill overlooking a little coal-mining town called Nalach to cook lunch. (A quick note about the food we ate… Majority of our lunch and dinner meals, with the exception of maybe 2 or 3, we ate noodles, meat [usually goat], and veggies in some way, shape or form. A great variety…)
On our way again, we saw a little boy riding a horse bare-back rounding up a herd of 40-50 horses. When I asked Urna how old she thought he was, she said about 6 years old. That just seems crazy! When I was 6 years old, I was running around the midway telling all the ride guys they better let me ride the rides or I’m going to tell my uncle. (This argument didn’t always turn out the way I wanted though.) But some people may think the life a little carny brat is kind of crazy too.
Eventually we came upon the Tuul River in the Terelj National Park. At the top of the hill, we walked around an ovoo three times, donated some stones to the pile, and said a prayer. This should allow us to have a safe journey. These “ovoos” were everywhere. They were piles of stone with a pole in the middle that had a bunch of scarves tied around it. The scarves were mostly blue, red, yellow, and white. Each color represented something different. I’m pretty sure blue represents the sky, but I can’t remember what they other colors stand for.
We camped on the river bank in a valley surrounded by mountains on all sides. While we were eating dinner, a lightning storm was goig across one of the mountain ranges. It was so incredible to watch! I wanted to capture some lightning in a picture, so I busted out my awesome camera and snapped away! Within 11 minutes, I was able to take 138 photos, of which only 6 captured some lightning.
For the rest of the night, Karima and I laid out and gazed at the stars for a while. We even saw some shooting stars!
What a beautiful place we are in!
Mongolian country side + star gazing + shooting stars + lightning + horses talking + a mountain-outlined sky =
1 great night!