It is September 11th…I had forgotten the significance to the U.S. until waking up after a nap in my sweet little hotel in Seoul, South Korea to CNN coverage. I suppose we could remember all of the time in the form of ISIS/ISIL which was born out of our response to 9/11—the breaking of Iraq. But for now let me go back to Mongolia and the horses.
WHEN I WAS A KID…PLACES THAT WEREN’T HALFWAY TO TIMBUKTU WERE HALFWAY TO MONGOLIA
Crankily last night and happily this morning, I went to bed and woke up at Mongolian Secret History Camp about 40 miles outside of UB. An amazing place really. A tourist camp of yurts and a central lodge and acres of fat sheep and cattle and camels and a donkey or two. Crops, potatoes are all I am sure of so far, forest running up the mountainside, steppes all in the distance, big boastful black and white birds. I was booked for a lovely yurt with the wood stove but you already know that. Opted for the lodge which is all real wood and carved accouterments and knotty pine walls and Minnesota-like stuff. Turns out not to have heat until October but I turned on all of the lights and took a hot bath…voila I was warm.
Tonight we are at the tourist camp operated by the Hustai National Park, a site best known for maintaining a herd of the only surviving wild horses (in the world?), Przewalski’s horse also known as Takhi. Through Dutch and Mongolian NGOs, the Takhi, completely extinct in the wilderness until 1992, were introduced back into their natural habitat, the steppes of Mongolia. The horses are distinct, which I hope to show you in my very own photos if the walk up the road to see them actually happens. The schedule isn’t completely rigorous in these parts. In any case I bought a furry one in the souvenir shop just in case.
This excursion into the countryside of Mongolia is not one I would necessarily do over. On the other hand there were moments in Botswana and even Kenya I felt the same way and now they are among the highest of highlights of my travels.
The days ups (we saw the horses!) and downs (road here would try the soul of Mad Max) are over. I’m happily in ger for the night. There’s a power source and electricity, a very comfortable bed and the toilet is only 23 steps away. It is the absolutely most charming of bedrooms although hardly bug proof but since there are no spiders in Mongolia… There unfortunately are flies but I’m fairly deadly with a snappy little towel so they’re almost killed off.
Tomorrow another National Park and then Safari North is over. Tomorrow night’s post will be devoted to this, my third safari. I doubt I’ll even be cranky at all by tomorrow.