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Mongolia into the wild

Travel World Tour
Les Globe-Trotters, August 02, 2009

Baina Sain uu! 24 days to go Mongolia's Gobi Desert to the south to Lake Khovsgol the north. 24 magical days Into the Wild.

Our Mongolian journey began a very long trip (40h bus and train) from Beijing to the capital of Mongolia (Ulaanbaatar), with bonus passage of China / Mongolia border, pretty epic. One kilometer separates the two border posts, and can not be done by jeep. So we started playing Pictionary with the unique person of the bus station of this new Chinese city, empty of inhabitants, out of the ground in the middle of nowhere. With some designs, we managed to geo-locate the border and how to get there. As a bonus, some stale cakes 8 months for our little dej. The small detail that our designs had not allowed us to grasp was that we were going to do with 12 other individuals, as responsible as we do!

Mongolie: into the wild
Into Ulaanbaatar capital of this great country, monuments reminiscent of the Soviet presence. Mongolia has indeed regained its independence during the block fall in the early 90. Since the country opened more and more to the world, and worships Genghis Khan, the Mongol emperor first (12th century). Their identity in the 21st century through the great conqueror of another era. Into the Naadam "Naadam" means "game" in Mongolian. This sports festival held every year in mid-July. This is the opportunity to see many competitions: wrestling, horse racing mounted by children (12 to 30 km across the steppes !!), ossicles, archery. Into the No Man's Land Mongolia is a No Man's Land. 2 million inhabitants (half in Ulaanbaatar). 40 million animals including yaks, sheep, goats, camels, horses. Open spaces of sight, steppes, valleys, lakes, mountains ....
Mongolie: into the wild
La steppe mongole
Into the Purgan To connect the south to north, we drove for 20 days in a little Russian truck, 4x4, indestructible: the Purgan. 1800kms of South 1800kms tracks (Gobi) north (Lake Kovsghol), through the Mongolian steppes to the center. 1800kms to be shaken ( "otherwise the pulp, it stays down!") 1800kms through landscapes of great beauty. The Purgan: a car to live (but not too long anyway !!!) ... Into the Gobi in the south. "Gobi" in Mongolian means desert. This region extends south of Mongolia, the landscape is very arid. Very little sand, but a 10km strip in the middle of nowhere. Some camels. Some yurts along. A loss of sight: the desert. Into the water From the Gobi due north ascent. On our way we passed some all too beautiful lakes! But, with a preference for Khovsgol Lake, which borders the Russian border. The lake Khovsgol represents 2% of the world's fresh water. 140kms long and 160m deep, it is the 2nd deepest lake in Asia after Lake Baikal in Russia. An inland sea with its boats. Into the yurt The yurt is not a legend, but a millennium lifestyle that continues here in Mongolia. We loved living in a yurt to sleep, eat, live to the rhythm of the nomads and the sun ... a warm and friendly place! The reception, very friendly to our Mongolian hosts, is always accompanied by rituals. Close your eyes. Imagine yourself in a yurt, sitting on one of the two beds in the family, acting beds sofas. In the center a stove crackles. TV, straight out of the 80s, is planning a movie with the "De Funes' local. Dry mutton in a corner just right. The single opening of the yurt, the door is open on a steppe landscape of windswept this evening. On the menu: - yak cheese (hard or soft pieces, but always big ... we know what to choose !!) - fermented mare's milk (ie alcoholic) - cow milk alcohol Bon appetite. Whenever our bowl is finished, we are leftover. Out of respect for our guests we have always done, more or less easily, but always with a tear in the eye and reply tanned. Once past the daily ritual (because every night, new place, new yurt, new hosts) we eat mutton. Here, the sheep is an institution! Stew of mutton, donuts mutton, mutton dumplings, soup, mutton, mutton cooked with hot stones ... In short, you have to like the sheep, if we learn to love it!
Mongolie: into the wild
Notre yourte d'hôte
Large spaces. Freedom. Alone in the world. Yurts. The smile Mongolian discreet. Warm welcome. A country out of time. .... Magic !

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