Tuesday, September 25, 2007

9/7 to 9/10 Final Days

9/7 was a day of leisure. We had the option to ride which most took up. I had caught what turned out to be a stomach virus and rested. The weather and scenery made for a pleasant day off. In the afternoon we visited Jergdallen's ger and family. The little boy in the photos is his son but really his grandson. Jergdallen's son is either not going into the family business and/or lives far away. Jergdallen and his wife adopted their grandson in order to teach him the ways so he may one day inherit the herds of sheeps, goats, yaks and, of course, horses.

Jergdallen's son was much less shy than the other kids we met. It may be because he's met all the other non Mongolians who have been on tour. Past participants have sent batches of photos back and he pleaded Jergdallen to put a photo of him in the front. The conversation went as follows:

Son: Put this picture in the front.
Jergdallen: There's room for it in the back.
S: No! Put it in the front.
J: How about the middle?
S: No one's going to see it if it's in the middle!
J: Okay, I'll put it in the front.
Jergdallen's Wife: Oh, just put the album away! We have company and you're being rude.

It played like a sitcom. At least it was more productive than my conversations with
Bootsy that went like this:

Jackie: Okay, time to canter! Come on,
Bootsy! Tro, tro! Tro, tro!
Bootsy: Um, no.
B: Nope.
J: Here comes the whip...
B: All
righty then.
(30 seconds later.)
J: Oh come on!

The next day we had to say good-bye to
Dogii and Jergdallen (and Bootsy). We were all pretty sad since who knows if our paths will cross again, even if we return to Mongolia. We wished them luck for the coming months and were off for a drive to "Piece of Sand", an area at the very edge of the Gobi. We had a chance to ride camels but I passed. It was entertaining to watch Jim and Katie try to manage the animals though. Listening to the camels made me think of Star Wars. In fact, we found postcards of costumes worn by Mongolian princesses and clearly George Lucas's costume designers borrowed heavily for princess Amidala.

The following day was spent driving back to
UB on terrible roads. It didn't take as long as the first day out but it was just as uncomfortable. We got back in time for me to check out the main square very briefly. Then we saw a performance of traditional song and dance.

As I mentioned before, the staff at Nomads really took care of us well. I had never been on an organized tour like that so it was a nice first experience. Everyone was friendly and respectful and the participants all agreed that Mongolia more than lived up to our expectations. I went away with a desire to see much more of the country (we only covered a small part of central Mongolia) and a definite plan to return. The people of the countryside were all incredibly warm and welcoming. Almost everyone asked if I was Mongolian and didn't believe
Mishidma when she told them I wasn't. This was really the first time people have had that kind of reaction. In Korea I am always asked if I'm Chinese or Japanese. I will think back to this trip very fondly and hope to get back to Mongolia soon.

Here is the link to the last of the photos. I ran out of juice the last few days and had to eek out photos with my other camera: http://www.flickr.com/photos/54764455@N00/sets/72157602153514067/

1 comment:

Mom and Dad said...

We loved the photos of Mongolia. You look great on Bootsy. When will we see some comments and photos of France?