Day 22-24: Across Mongolia.
Notes and impressions from my recent rail journey — from London to Germany, Russia, Siberia, Mongolia on to China — now continues. Sorry for the interruption.
Mongolia has been another great surprise. Ulan Bator is a modern city, with apartment buildings, parks, cultural activities, and – at least as far as we could tell – universally friendly people. Of course, this comes from the perspective of someone from Hawaii where all outdoor advertising is banned, but I was struck, by the constant visual assault of signs and billboards that really give the city a tawdry look. How bad is it?
Our last day in Mongolia, we were driven to a National Park for a fascinating look at the lives of Mongolian nomads. They live in yurts – just one round room with fabric stretched over a wood frame – but pack everything up and move three or four time a year to provide more or better grazing for their cattle, horses, camels and sometimes sheep and goats as well.
And here’s how a mare is milked: To start the flow, her foal is brought up to nuzzle, then is pulled back and a second person does the actual milking … but it takes three to tango: the foal and two Mongolians.
There was also an archery demonstration, with two men firing arrows at a bright red target not more that a foot square and probably 200 feet away. I didn’t keep count, but they scored hits at least 3 times out of five arrows.
The next morning, we continued on our train to the Mongolian-Chinese border, then transferred to a Chinese train for the overnight ride to Beijing. Next time: A very interesting incident in Tiananmen Square.