Thursday, August 24, 2006


800 years of Mongolia. This is the big celebration> being held here in Mongolia this year. They are > very big on Ghengis Khan (though they do say he is> called Chenggis Khaan... and they would > know), pointing out he crushed the chinese and had> the biggest empire in the world. It ran from > the eastern edge of china to Hungary and went north> into what is now russia as well. In fact, they > say that 10% of the world's population have old> Khaan's genes running through them.. randy old > sod.> > The trip from Beijing to Ulaan Baatar was 30 hours> long. 7 of those hours were taken up by > chinese and mongolian officials in staggeringly> large military style hats checking and rechecking > our passports, crossing out our names on entry visas> and respelling them 'correctly', checking out > our ID photos and denying it was us in the> picture... typical self important military> shenanigans. > We were stuck on the train for the entire time and> the toilets have to be locked at the station.. > bladder explosions all round!> > The Gobi Desert (Gobi = Desert in Mongolian) was> featureless, sandy and flat flat flat. After many > hours it gave way to flat flat grasslands and then> we climbed the 1500 metres into slightly hillier > area that surrounds Ulaan Baatar (Ulaan Baatar means> Red Hero in Mongolian.> > Ulaan baatar is rather surprising. It is like a> Rockhampton but with a huge Russian and a sligh > chinese flavour. It is a modern city in a country> that is trying to urbanise as quickly as possible. > The Mongolians are a proud democratic people with a> strong sense of their own history. We went > out to the Great Mongolian restaurant and had heaps> and heaps of cheap filling food and then > watched a band called Altan Urag (Golden Destiny).> They are a bit like a Mongolian Tulipan using > traditional mongolian instruments in a modern 'rock'> manner. i was so impressed i bought their > CD!> > I have to go now as we leave soon to trek into the> hills and set up our Ger-camp. > > Riding horses, learning how to throat sing, eating> by a fire.. it is a hard life for some> > best wishes to you all

sorry about the weird paragraphs.. something screwy with this computer

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