We are with Bolod Namkhai, in the blue jacket, who is the owner of Bolod's Guesthouse,
where we stayed in Ulan Bator. He also runs a travel service, and arranged all of our tours.
On the right is our guide, Eric. If you ever go to Mongolia, be sure to have Bolod arrange
everything for you. His website is http://www.bolodtours.com/.
We left early in the morning for a four day tour or the countryside. We are with the
driver Dawa and Eric.
There are few paved roads once you get a few miles outside the capital. In fact, the
roads are often ad hoc, where ever you want to drive.
You are not going to believe this, but it is really true. When traveling outside the cities
there is no place to stay. No hotels, no guesthouses. But every ger is a potential
hostel. This hospitality is a matter of necessity in the harsh climate. Historically,
the people never charged a guest, but recently have taken to asking about $4
per person. About an hour or two before dark the driver took out his binoculars
and started looking across the plains for sheep. The reason for this is that
there are a lot more sheep than gers, and where ever there are animals,
there are humans. This couple seemed happy to provide us with not
only very warm accommodations, but also a traditional Mongolian
meal of noodle soup and dried meat.
At Home on the Steppes
The Mongolian nomads must be the most hospitable people in the world. I asked our hosts
if people often dropped in on them like we did. They said that it happens about once per year,
but that we were the first foreigners. Their hospitality was very much appreciated.
High Tech Living
It is not unusual to see solar panels and satellite dishes outside gers. This one even
had a refrigerator. The billboard for a cell phone company advertised no roaming
charges. This must be an attractive feature for nomads, who pick up and move
four times each year.
Thirteenth Century Mongolian Village
Five small villages of structures in common use in thirteenth century Mongolia have been
reconstructed for tourists in a park outside Ulan Bator. Striking similarities can also be
seen in the Mongolian language and that of the American Indians.
This woman in the reconstructed thirteenth century Mongolian village shows how
a rug was made back then.
Birds have long been used for hunting on the steppes.
Tourists can have a ride on an animal from the Silk Road.
Home Sweet Home
A thirteenth century warrior and his princess.