Going Gobi :-)

Ulaanbaatar, September 2nd, 9 AM: An old Russian jeep is waiting for us in front of the guesthouse from where we will leave for the Gobi Desert. A hair-rising hour through Ulaan Baatar, a lot of almost accidents later and the sure knowledge that the brakes do not work that well but the horn does, we leave the paved road the paved road stops and off we are in the Mongolian country side.

And how beautiful it is! It’s hard to describe if you haven’t seen it, but just imagine open spaces with blue sky as far as you can see (ok, some clouds, just so the pictures turn out more beautiful :-) ), some herds of sheep and goats and sometimes a ger (Mongolian tent, the Russian word is yourt) in the far distance. You see the picture? Then you are imagining Mongolia! :-)

Distances are very big in Mongolia. Roads are very bad in Mongolia and therefore distances seem very long. In general we travel at a speed of about 35 km/h over bumpy roads being shaken up over and over (well at least you don’t get bored like that). ;-)

The night we usually sleep at a ger next to the ger of a local family who cooks dinner and breakfast for us. Dinner consists mainly of some variants of rice or some kind of Mongolian pasta with (invariably) sheep meat. It’s not too bad actually. For the breakfast they are less imaginative though: most of the time we have to do with some (very!) dry cookies and tea, but you get used to everything. As our driver is Mongolian, from time to time we stop to have lunch at a small village restaurant. Here food is most of the time very good and we have to admit that actually you get used to the typical Mongolian tea very soon: milk-tea with salt. :-)

One day, our driver wasn’t feeling too well and we had a stop at some (for us random) ger where he seemed to visit a medicine man or maybe just had some milk-tea to calm down his stomach. In the meanwhile we were kindly invited in the other ger where the lady of the house served us some milk tea and typical fermented Mongolian cheese. Oh god!!! It was inedible!! And while she was there, smiling at us and being so friendly, we had to keep pretending we were eating (but it tasted like old flower put into an even older chewing gum… beurk… :-( ). Luckily for us the lady left after a while and so we quickly put our “gift” in some toilet paper and into our pockets. Then we rushed out of the tent, pretending to take some very interesting pictures of stones or sand ;-), before she would come back in and propose us some more! :-)

At some point Vera got sick a little bit and the driver was feeling sorry so he decided to apply some “shamaan” medecin on her: first she had to sniffle some raw tabacco which made her sneeze like an insane and then he made her eat raw (!), old (!) garlic. Beurk!!! It’s so incredibly strong! And while the whole group was finding it quite funny and laughed a lot about it, saying it smelled very good, like some garlic bread with olive oil (???) she was only too happy to finish it. Unfortunately for her, the rest didn’t stay long, because as soon as she finally started breathing normally again, thinking the worst was behind her, the driver said: “Eat!” and she had to eat a second piece again. :-( Boohoo! :-( But it is true that because of the strong taste it really opens the nose… (in case somebody wants to try…). ;-)

Main attraction of Gobi were without doubt the Sand Dunes which made us all feel like Lawrence of Arabia, imagining ourselves driving with our horse through the beautiful yellow desert (only a little bit less elegant… ;-) ). And instead of horse riding, we decided to go for a camel ride instead which was quite an experience! Not because they are so dynamic (it takes about ten minutes before they are all up, they are rather lazy) or because they go so fast (they will not run, but rather stroll) or because they listen so well (basically THEY will decide IF and WHERE you go and not you). No, it was quite a (one-time!) experience, because they are incredibly smelly, burping and farting all the time, especially once they start eating some prickly desert plants for which they will stop at every occasion they get to fill up their stomach. Beurk! :-( But what to say, they are like that and it’s all part of the adventure right? ;-)

Vera & Jean-Christophe


  1. Posted September 18, 2007 at 17:45 | Permalink

    notez bien tous les remèdes. Cela fera faire des économies à la sécu!! elle en a bien besoin et au moins, c’est tout à fait naturel!!!

  2. Posted September 18, 2007 at 18:56 | Permalink

    Bonjour, vos articles sont toujours instructifs et ne manquent pas d’anecdotes heureuses ou un peu moins… Mais c’est ce qui fait le piquant de la vie et je vous envie. Les photos sont merveilleuses, continuez. Bisous.

  3. mamma
    Posted September 22, 2007 at 9:05 | Permalink

    Vera, j’ai essaye de mettre du sel dans mon (excellent) the (seulement un fond de tasse, car je me doutais bien du resultat mais bon !je voulais partager vos experiences!), conclusion de l’operation : a part faire des gargarismes pour decaper une gorge enflammee par une angine foudroyante, je ne vois pas quel sadique peut imposer cette mixture a un estomac non habitue !!!!! Je vous trouve tres courageux … ou tres fous :-; bacioni vesuviani !