The first day of our journey in the countryside, we happened on to a traditional festival.
It was quite something to see. The main attraction was the national sport,
wrestling. The competition went on all day in an elimination.
Actually, the spectators were more interesting than the competition. They came by
horse, jeep, car and motorcycle.
People of all ages and from all over the district were in attendance.
Unlike their parents, the teenage girls were dressed not very much different from what
you might see in Tokyo or Beijing.
New Age Transport
This kid apparently prefers his motorcycle to a horse.
Probably the second most popular sport in Mongolia is horse racing. The race is much
longer than in the West. The animals are raced across the plains on a course that is
ten to fifteen miles in length. The interesting thing about this competition is that it
was limited to six- to twelve-year olds. That is the age of the rider, not the horse.
Both genders competed together. At this age it seems that the girls are about as tough as
their brothers. When I went to the winner's circle to get a picture, I was told that
I could see the horse, but that the winner had run off to find her mother.
These two jockeys were proud to pose for the camera.
This little boy was delighted to show me his horse.
Please Straighten Your Tie, Dear.
Back in Ulan Bator we encountered a group of performers who were having a public
relations photo taken for their show, which is put on for tourists. The medieval
princess is helping a three-eyed Buddhist devil with his appearance. You
don't often see people dressed like this walking around the city.
That evening the whole group got together for the performance. It was quite something
to see. This man is playing a traditional Mongolian horse-head fiddle.
This is a Central Asian tradition that is extremely difficult to describe and almost
impossible for a Westerner to reproduce.
Tibetan Buddhist Devil
This mask and outfit are used in traditional Buddhist religious performances.
Contortionism is apparently a Mongolian tradition. It must be seen to be believed.
The performers are mainly teenage girls. Don't try this at home.