I mentioned in my last blog that Mongolian people are very attractive...that was after having being here for a short time. Now I KNOW with all my heart that they are exceptionally gorgeous people! Not only are they stunning but there is an inner beauty that shines through with such warmth and generosity. Thomas and I just returned from a journey to the Natural Reserve Park where we stayed in a girt and lived alongside a local family in the village. The journey there was along a beaten dirt road track through forest and alongside pastures of feeding cows, sheep and goats, not forgetting packs of horses. We observed horses cooling themselves down in the river, cows crossing the river and having to walk in till the water reached their heads...there were brave cows and cowardly cows, smart cows and deflated cows, the smart cows chose to walk across at shallower points. The deflated ones didn't dare cross. The cowardly one crossed but it took some time before they entered and the brave well they just went across fearlessly.
We had a really amazing woman as our guide and she shared her knowledge of current Mongolia and historic Mongolia (we were lucky cause her partner is a Mongolian historian so her knowledge was broad). She is a doctor but enjoys working as a guide every so often to practice her languages (she speaks French, Russian, Polish, English, Chinese and Mongolian). I learnt so much from her that my head is soon to explode with new knowledge of a land that I now feel so connected to. The country people are very connected to their animals as the animals provide so much for the everyday survival. I discovered that horses are not only good for riding and pulling things but you can make alcomahol from their milk. So the milk is collected now and by October it will be a delicious alcohol called Irak.
We went on a 3 hour horse trek through the country side and I had a mighty steed(I also had a 10 year old boy leading my mighty steed by foot) It was so nice sitting on the horse and observing the nature from such a perspective. I was even given flowers along the way and got to drink water from the river. Thomas was able to ride his horse without a guide and he was generally successful but criticized for not hitting his horse hard enough when it was time to go.
Mongolian culture holds men in great esteem and the rules of Ladies first do not apply at all, it is always the man who enters or exits a building first. And it is the man that eats food first etc.The reason being that if there is an aggressor with a bow and arrow (or a sniper) aiming at the doorway, the man must boldly and bravely open his chest and accept the arrow(or bullet), and, if perchance the food is off, or has been poisoned, it is the man who must suffer the tormented death or agony of a bad stomach. Thomas has been very brave and accepted his new role accordingly.
We have eaten a lot of MEAT! And my stomach has started playing up. My toilet roll has been in great use in forests, restaurants, behind camels(this I'm making up) so I think once I get to China I will no longer consume meat and resume my former habits of eating seafood, veg and legumes. Perhaps it isn't the meat but it is the easiest food object for me to blame...tonight we're going for Mongolian BBQ so I will have my last indulgence attempt there. Here too Thomas has been a good man, he has generally accepted my left over meat and consumed it alongside his.
And now...I must sign off as I have a long walk back to the guest house.
Mongolia: Men exposing their bellies to allow the cool air to gracefully blow onto the buddha belly and cool it down. Yaks grazing alongside cows, goats grazing alonside sheep. Adorable little humans with cheeky grins! Tall Mongolian men with long hair that look like they've just come out of crouching tiger hidden dragon. Elegant women with broad smiles parading along the street. Girts scattered along the rolling hills and plains, always the entrance facing south.
I will return here one day to work!
I do not know if I am able to blog in China, as I have heard there are very tight restrictions on the Intranet so perhaps I will return to blog once I reach Vietnam...however I hope it will not be so long.