August 02 - August 18, 2011
M  O  N  G  O  L  I  A
Gobi , Altay Mountains & Hovds Gull Tour
Group Journal Day 15
Submitted By Richard Ross
SARIDAG, FLY TO ULAAN BAATAR
Aug. 16, 2011

 Itinerary: Drive 4 hours back to the air port.  Have lunch in Moron and pick up Sue and Beverly. Ulaan Baatar . Music show   & Farewell dinner

Reunion and Conclusion to the Case of the Missing Tool

  

Stupendous sun rise. there was fog covering the lake.

On one side a full moon was setting and  other other side the rising sun made the earth  look like it was bleeding .

 

 

Reunion and Conclusion to the Case of the Missing Tool

The staff at Natures Door Ger Camp lighted our ger stoves at 0500 to help us stay warm while dressing and packing our bags for our departure this morning. They also provided a lovely breakfast of museli, yak yoghurt, black current jam, and toast, and just when we finished it, they brought out plates of eggs, cheese, bread and sausages. Another Big Breakfast! We departed at 0630 with a warm send off by the energetic Natures Door staff who had taken such good care of us during our two night stay providing extra blankets, replenishing the ger stoves at 0400 if requested, warming up the water for hot showers in the early evening and keeping the compost toilets very clean.

 

During the bone shattering ride back to Moron the mountains appeared very different in the early morning light in contrast to the late afternoon-early evening light of our trip out on Sunday. The group arrived at Moron late morning to meet up with Bev and Sue, who had stayed in town so Bev could recover from being ill. She was much better and had, the day before, visited the small local Buddhist temple, built in the 1700s, which is currently being reconstructed. It had earlier housed 2,000 monks and recently acquired a new and large statue of The Buddha, carved out of a single piece of granite. Bev had good care and help at The 100/50 Degree Hotel and was delighted to be able to rejoin the MeliTour.

We departed Moron at 1415 via an Eznis Airways SAAB 340 B prop jet which took off from a dirt runway and arrived back in UB at 1530. Boloroo successfully retrieved Jims confiscated tool from the Director of the Airport Office of Dangerous Items, thus resolving the Case of the Missing Tool. The traffic was light on our return to the Edelweiss Hotel, which by now feels like a second home. After checking back into our rooms, retrieving our checked luggage and a quick change, we departed for the 1800 performance by the Moonstone Ensemble at their theatre. A gloriously costumed cast performed traditional music on local instruments, including the morin khur (horsehead fiddle) and the khuuchir (a smaller stringed instrument), a two-foot square bass, a wooden flute, a flat harp (zither-like 6 foot plucked instrument) and something similar to a vibraphone. The melodies produced by this ensemble would surely baffle even Honneger. The performance included throat singing by both female and male artists, dances, and two female contortionists who performed mudras of The Buddha backed up by five dancers posing as Avolokiteshvaras.

We finished our tour of Mongolia with dinner at the Modern Nomad restaurant where we were served a traditional Mongolian dish khokhog (meat and vegetable stew) served in a small wooden bucket that contained hot rocks. Boloroo instructed the non-vegetarians to pick up a rock and roll it between hands before eating the stew. This is said to relieve tiredness and improve blood circulation. Jim complied and burned his fingers. The veg alternative was a tasty noodle dish.

Meli asked each of us to describe in one phrase their Mongolian experience vast, the Blue Sky, exotic wild life, rutted roads, solitude, yaks, and ever changing landscape were some of the offerings. Meli gave each of us a Mongolia animal memento (horse, camel, yak, sheep, goat or snow leopard) to remind us of our Excellent Mongolian Adventure. What a trip it has been! Anyone ready next year for the Yak Festival or the Tsaatan Festival at Khuvsgul Lake in July, or the Golden Eagle Festival in Bayan-Ulgii Province in September, or the Lunar New Year in February?

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