Me-go: Around-the-World

So Long, Mongolia


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Even though I’ve had six nights in Ulaan Baatar since coming back from the Gobi I haven’t had a lot of free time. In fact, I feel like I haven’t rested at all. I have yet to start reading the book I brought and have only caught up in my journal as far as the end of the trip to the lakes. So, much like this blog, I’m running a week behind. This might not surprise my phase 1 readers, in fact, I would think you would be really impressed with how much I’ve been updating.

All of my photos from Mongolia are up, besides any good ones I might come across from the last day or two. If you’re like my mom and waiting for the Gobi update you can at least take a look at my Gobi photos. All of my gallery is generally in chronological order so The Gobi starts after Bayongol. I also added more photos to the Ulaan Baatar album so don’t overlook those. The food and design albums are up and I’ve made sure to add captions to the food, since that’s usually a reader favorite. Now, if I were you I would go straight to the Naadam photos which are really colorful.

When you’re looking at the gallery you might not realize there’s more than you see on a single page. For instance, at the top of the white space it will say something like “showing 1-18 of 42” which means that there’s more on the next page.

In more mundane news I spent the last three days at the Naadam festivities. The first day was the opening ceremony. We had to buy tickets from scalpers and luckily were a few hours early so we got a seat. People were trying to get in but there was no room on the benches so others were pulling them down the bleachers and I saw a slapping flight break out between a Mongolian man and two women who wanted to kneel in front of him. Once the ceremony was over everyone left and the wrestling began. I’m glad I saw the other Naadam in Bayongol because you’re really far away from anything and I couldn’t take any wrestling photos even with my 200+mm lens.

Warning on the guesthouse door Naadam posterThe US ambassador to Mongolia drove up and ate at the same cafe as us

The second day I went down to watch archery and ankle bone flicking but was rained out after about an hour. Prince Andrew from England was there but made it out before the rain. On day three I went to the wrerstling finals and the closing ceremony. Unfortunately, so many people were trying to get in that they closed the doors and we couldn’t get out. So we sat on the bleachers from 10:30 until 4:30 without food. There was a guy selling coke and water but it was nearly imporssible to get him to sell you anything, especially because you couldn’t get out of your seat without someone climbing into it. I started to fall asleep around round 9 of the wrestling and thankfully the final bout between the last two wrestlers only lasted about 6 minutes.

The town has returned to normal overnight except for a slightly larger group of people on the square admiring the new Chinggis Khan statue. All of the flags in the square were taken down as well so the cartwheel photo I took this morning wasn’t very colorful. Last night I met up with a fellow internet-posting traveler named David who I have been emailing with for the last few months. We exchanged trip details but it was a little one sided. Because he’s been living in Urumqi, China for a few years he was able to give me the important information, like where the good massage place is and where to buy DVDs. I am leaving on a 24 hour train ride to Hohhot, China tonight. I am both excited to leave for a new place but also apprehensive to learn new money and a new town. Because I’ve been to China before I am not as excited as usual but at least I know what to expect and have already prepared myself mentally for the country.