Ulaanbaatar, Övörkhangai & Arkhangai

Ulaanbaatar (i think i got the right spelling now) reminds me of Tirana. No freaky coloured buildings, but still, bad driving culture, dust, soviet buildings, lots of construction sites and so on. The natural history museum is nice, at least if you have never seen dinosaur skeletons.

Simon and Pascal were buying horses in Arvairkheer, so i got a jeep ride with them to Arvaikheer, a small dusty capital of Övörkhangai aimag. The boys got their horses and i continued to Harhorin, just next to ancient Karakorum. There is nothing left of it – a temple was built from the remains. Then hitchhiked (which, in Mongolia, always involves paying for petrol + possibly a little or little more foreigner extra) to Tsetserleg, another aimag capital. From there on to Tariat, next to the White lake. Hiked around and climbed a few mountains. Drank plenty of airag, i.e. fermented horsemilk. It is good, like really sour runny youghurt. Camel meat tastes bad (or maybe it was an old camel).

Mongolians seem to like the Pussycat dolls quite a lot. In addition to that my rides had lots of 80s european pop (Sabrina, Modern Talking, etc.), and strangely enough, German schlagers on their tapes. Plus also lots of mongolian music. It is nice to be in the center of small minivan with 16 people with everyone singing (except me).

Mongolian people remind me of the Akha (at least in two ways), 1. they really love to sing, and 2. the men are shy and quiet and women more open and talkative. This is based on a very small sample of people.

The steppe in central Mongolia is full of mixed herds of sheep, goat, horses, cows, yaks, 50-50 cow-yaks and cow-yaks in other percentages of each grazing and farting away. Walking through a herd of yaks can be a bit intimidating – the got big horns and are surprisingly agile. Also saw some wildlife: eagles, hawks, owls and ravens posing around next to the dirt tracks going through the steppe, marmots trying not to be run over, plus other birds and hares.

Back in UB i repaired my Couchsurfing host’s computer for half a day. SLAX, a nice small linux distro bootable from CD was handy in backing up data, as Windows was all corrupted.

Sunday i’m off to Erlian at the just inside China at the border. From there i’ll continue to either Beijing or Hohhot.

photos from Thursday, August 16th 2007
buildings sukhbataar and people sukhbataar i
photos from Sunday, August 12th 2007
Mr.Dog
photos from Saturday, August 11th 2007
vulcanus pit Mr. Hawk my foot, a river and some steppe lavafield next to White lake white lake
photos from Friday, August 10th 2007
edge of a pond me and late mr.yak
photos from Thursday, August 9th 2007
yaks
photos from Wednesday, August 8th 2007
pile of rocks with horse skulls moony landscape moony landscape 2 diggers turtle souvenirs temple some deity some deity 2 temple
photos from Tuesday, August 7th 2007
horses on steppe arvairkheer arvairkheer 2 simon on the from ulaanbaatar

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