Friday, May 17, 2013

The Mongolia Voyage: Part 3

After that short visit to the Terelj, I was dead set in finding another location. Unfortunately, it was just so difficult to book plane tickets to the Gobi and even just the overland tours. I also had a schedule to follow, so in the end, I surrendered to the fact that this trip will only be a glimpse of Mongolia. 



I had one more full day, so I decided to visit the nearest park from UB other than the Terelj. I forgot the name of the park and I also lost my notes. I can't seem to find pictures of the park in the internet, so I guess, that's it. 


I was gunning for more hiking, so my driver brought me here. It was more forest than Terelj that I began to forget that I was in Momgolia. It looked more Colorado and Canada. 


I began to explore the mountainside, and climbed up to what seemed to be a pagoda perched on one of the peaks. 


Well, it wasn't a pagoda, but more of a chinese mansion, an old abandoned house, now converted into a museum of sorts. I didn't have any guide, and no one spoke English. The only soul other than mine is from the caretaker, who did not move from his seat. Hence, I just took the time to take nice pictures of the interiors of the house. 


I went outside and moved further up the back of the house. There were stone houses that looked like storage for wood or something. I wasn't able to go to the top, since the path was not that clear. And the way was really steep.



Hence, I moved sideways and crossed the mountainside. I passed by more ruins. They looked ancient - walls seemingly made out of mud torn down by an earthquake probably. Unless this place was a war zone in the past.


In the end, I was just imagining what happened in this place. It was a monument of sorts, since there were museums and memorials. 


I pushed further into the mountains. The wind was getting colder and stronger. The surroundings became more and more peaceful. I took in all the fresh air I could. I sat on one of the rocks and again, contemplated aimlessly.


After 2 hours of hiking, I ended up back near the entrance of the park. I was looking for a river, since I was seeing streams while I was hiking. I ended up with a dried up one. It was already past lunch time so I decided to call my driver who came after 30 minutes. 


I told my driver in sign language that I needed to eat. The nearest town was 30 minutes away, and the only dining choice was this bare eatery serving only home cooked Mongolian food.


Nobody could understand me, and I couldn't understand them, so I just pointed at a picture and got that. It turned out to be mutton again, with shredded cabbage, potato salad and some dumplings. They were tasteless, so I didn't enjoy the food.


I knew my Mongolian adventure officially ended after that meal. We passed through barren lands once again, and spotted some wild horses or takhi. Some were galloping on the horizon, so I couldn't really take a nice photo. I stopped though at one who was feeding on the grass.



I was already back in UB and again, I had the problem of having no hotel. So my driver and I patiently visited almost 10 hotels - which were all fully booked. I was looking at Agoda and all and still no rooms. I even asked for help from my travel agent.


I was very unlucky. I managed to book a suite in a hotel further away from the city center. I settled in because I was already getting tired. Good thing there was a mall around 10 minutes away by foot. I wasn't really far from civilization.


I walked around the area which was mostly residential. It was my last night in Mongolia, so I tried to explore whatever I could on foot. The Mongolians are not easily approachable but once you get their attention, they can be really friendly. 


 My flight to Shanghai was early in the morning. So I got up at 4AM, woke up the clerk on the check in desk and asked for a taxi to the airport. After a few minutes, I was on my way to the airport.


I had mixed feelings about Mongolia, since I never really got to do anything. I didn't get the chance to see the sights that matter. I was a bit frustrated, because I felt I just wasted time and money. But that didn't keep me down. I knew Mongolia is one awesome country, and just from what I saw, it was already amazing. So, this will not be the end. Mongolia, I'll see you soon - all pumped up and prepared.


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