Asia | Mongolia | Gachuurt – Camping day 3
Day three of the camping trip delivered much of the same, though it wasnt boring or monotonous in fact I was actually coming to like life under canvas (perhaps because were heading back to civilisation tomorrow!). I spent four hours collecting wood that would be gone in thirty minutes, while Hector tried in vain to catch me a fish. Bless him he has staying power and he doesnt even like fish! No luck again though and we set about building another fire.
The pressure was on since wed eaten everything that didnt have to be cooked and neither of us copes too well under pressure. It wasnt going well and we were wondering if wed be sampling raw potatoes before the day was out. Just as we were giving up hope, our salvation arrived in the form of three young Mongolian boys.
Rather embarrassingly, they sat down and two matches later we had a roaring fire. Rewarding them with what we could a chocolate biscuit each we cooked up the usual feast of boiled potatoes, pot noodles and some ash-baked spuds. The ubiquitous mutton in UB was suddenly looking very inviting!
Later, when the rain was clearing, the older lads from yesterday returned to chat to us for a while. As well as reviving our fire and chatting about the forthcoming festival (where one was entered in the horse racing) they tried desperately to get us onto their horses. Considering my track record on horseback though, coupled with the speed these horses are used to going, I had to decline. I have to admit I was tempted for a moment, but one look at the painful wooden saddle and my mind was made up. Hector hadnt been well for days and a rough ride through the forest was about the last thing he needed!
All of a sudden the two lads were leaping on their horses and riding away. For a moment I though wed offended them, but quite the opposite. Their keen eyes had spotted a marmot darting between the trees and were in pursuit. They were keen for us to taste the flesh and were determined to catch it and skin it! Using his horse as a step, one of the boys shimmied through the branches and man was he fast. Alas, the marmot was faster so we didnt get the pleasure of tasting marmot flesh (and I cant say I was totally disappointed!)
Still, a weekend breathing some unpolluted air, appreciating the unspoilt surroundings and a bit of interaction with the nomadic people was exactly what Id come to Mongolia for. I could certainly go home happy and everything else wed see en route would be a bonus! True to the word of the would-be marmot hunter, the rain soon cleared and the so-called land of the blue skies was at last true to its name. At last the backdrop I wanted for my photos!!