August 02 - August 18, 2011
M  O  N  G  O  L  I  A
Gobi , Altay Mountains & Hovds Gull Tour
Group Journal Day 04
Submitted by  Yvonne
Aug.05, 2011 Friday

Itinerary: Fly to Gobi desert. Visit the Eagle Valley of Yolyn Am, Visit the Gobi Museum overnight at Mirage Gobi ger camp.

Up and breakfasting at the Edelweiss in UB by 7:30; leaving at 8:30 to catch plane to Dalanzadgad in Southern Mongola airmag of Umnugobi. We were met by our little vans and driven 1.5 hours to the Eagle Valley or the Yolyn Am Valley. On the way we saw our first mirages.

At the air port, we were asked if we could deliver a cake and a bouquet of roses to a doctor in Gobi. Some of the tour members were reluctant to do this favor since we did not know who we were delivering for.

We all wanted window seat and we all did get window seats because there were only 6 more people in the plane besides our group

The wooden light poles were protected from the weather conditions of the ground by
elevated cement poles

Quite a wonderous experience as they are caused by the heating of the air by the land and both magnifiy whatever is around as well really as look as if there is water – in our first case – looking as if the little community was much bigger than it was and as if it were reflecting huge buildings. After our first experience we saw many mirages while on this leg of the trip.

The area of the Gobi we are in is flat surrounded by ring of low mountains that have not been glaciated. We ate lunch at the Gavin Bayanburd 1 Lodge run by the Tuvsin Shankhat Inc. that had a crystal chandelier.

At lunch our Mongolian guide Boloroo explained the evolution and symbolism of the Mongolian flag. On the top is the symbol for FIRE representing development in past, present and future; SUN representing beginning of every good thing; MOON representing ending of every bad thing; COLUMN representing stability for Mongolia; WALLS representing protecting Mongolia from inside and outside; and finally the inverted TRIANGLE at the bottom representing enemies from the inside and outside.

We also had the script explained. Mongolia Cyrillic script has 35 characters while the Russian has only 33. Ancient Mongolia script is being revived. It is originally related to Runic script.

At the lodge we had traditional Mongolian soup “Lapsha” … noddle, onion, meat, salt and water.


Vastness of Gobi

Visited Museum to get sense of natural history. The area we are in was a sea bottom in Devonian times … hence the dinosaur bones in the desert. Vegetarian dinosaur eggs that are round from vegetarian; oblong from meat-eating dinosaurs. Also learned that the orange in traditional gers represents the sun (of which there is a lot); the top circle of gers represents the sun and the radiating support poles the rays of the sun.

We entered the Strictly Protected Area and did the 4 km hike into the Yoliin Am Canyon. Incredibly beautiful … however did it at a time of day when few creatures out and about. We did see a number of Mongolian Whistling mice (pikas); golden Mongolian mice, lizards and a variety of birds. The name of the gorge )he name of the gorge (yoliin) means lammergeir – one of the most endangered species of birds of prey.

The canyon was incredibly beautiful – however – there was no ice left at the end past the little water fall.

Being in Mongolia – to date – (written Sat. Aug 13) is for me a truly magical mystery tour. Unfortunately, a part of the mystery is why Meli and Boloroo are unable to work out their differences so they can help facilitate our group entering more deeply into the experience of being in Mongolia. Also, a mystery to me is why a small number of participants are so intent on complaining about rather than doing something constructive about this disconnect – and this impacts on the overall experience for us all. However, even with this – the people and the land are amazing. Viva Mongolia and the happy pikas who accompanied us into the Yoliim Gorge.

As the shadows were getting longer we have arrived at our ger camp

The welcoming ceremony

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