Yesterday we went to visit the main Buddhist monastery in Ulaan Baatar. We were lucky enough to see the monks doing their daily chanting - it was almost like a transcending drone.
After a late breakfast and a quick grocery shop we drove out to a Ger camp in an area called Terelj in a Mongolian national park (sort of like a traditional Mongolian nomadic style of living except our camp has a few modern luxuries like a light in each tent and a block with flushing toilets!) the tents have three or four beds each an a pot belly type wood fire in the middle for heating.
On the way out we stopped off at a Ovoo - a sacred mound of stones that you have to circle three times in a clockwise direction and toss a small stone onto the pile each time.
Staying out here is really quite relaxing, so remote and peaceful (except maybe for the sounds of vodka soaked backpackers later in the evening!). Climbing some hills and rocks and just wandering generally is great thinking time, and when I get too cold I know I can go back to the Ger with the warmth of the fire, kick off the boots and read my book (or type up a blog entry like now...)
Despite the freezing temperatures, I am actually pretty toasty in all my layers, except that no matter what I seem to do I can't keep my fingers and toes warm - here's hoping I don't end up with frostbite.
Last night was quite fun watching everyone get pickled on vodka. I chose to sit it out last night but had endless entertainment watching everyone else! Ended up playing nurse at one point as Richard burnt himself after falling onto the stove in our Ger trying to restoke the fire unsupervised!
The food here has been surprisingly good too. Have tried some traditional Mongolian dishes and even got to try my hand at making the dumplings for last nights dinner - let's just say I would not get a gig in a Mongolian kitchen without a bit more practice!
Just had breaky and am waiting for the horses to arrive to go for a horseride to turtle rock, then this afternoon will involve visiting a local family and some tobogganing before dinner.