The Ger Camp
We all trouped on to a bus and into the wilds of mongolia (for tourists). The scenery is unbelievable, wild and untamed like the wild west (technically wild east) with nothing but Ger huts horses and cows. And a country club (the Chinggis Khan country club obviously) with an attached golf course but mostly wild and unspoiled.
We bought a load of food (mostly in chocolate, crisps and alcohol form) for the ger camp and after our "traditional soup" on the first lunch there we thought we'd need it! James just looked at the food and turned a peculiar shade of green. It did look like congealed fat floating in gray water. From there on in the food improved especially when we started to cotton on to ordering whatever Flower ordered. The Ger camp was a fairly touristy affair with the vodkatrain tents placed over a hill and away from the others... with good reason. Their were western toilets in the main camp but the facilities in our section were somewhat more basic and not to everyones taste (especially the squatters). A hole with a few boards across it would describe it well and it was trickier than you'd imagine especially for "pee Pee pants Coughlan".
We saw Naadam on the first day involving the three manly sports of wrestling, horse racing and archery. The wrestling was epic especially for an event that involves two men grabbling each other although it did lack the razzamatazz that a Hulk Hogan would bring to it. We then procceded to get drunk especially erica (who had to cry off early due to some cheap vodka) ruth and myself. After many misadventures trying to use the facilities without walking into a horse on the way (although i recall elaine went towards the horses and stood behind one trying to free a leg cought in some rope, brilliant idea) we settling into a deep discussion of the merits of various systems of punishment and the effects of solialisation on children and the situations in which you would smack a child. The Kiwis were set against the Irish and there was no sign of agreement. we didn't come to blows. The stars were unbelievable
We had a fire in our Ger which we had to maintain and i can say with confidence that i was the best there, helping to light fires in all three Ger's over the couple of days. We did have an old woman from the camp come in early every morning and light it up for us which was disconcerting but preferable to being cold.
The next day involved ankle bone, a massively convoluted game played with the ankle bones of sheep. We saw Flower's competitive side during this with many rule changes to keep her ahead. The other highlight was the horse riding, which was great although they were ponies truth be told. I couldn't get mine to speed up no many how many times i tried to say "cho, Cho" although when he did speed up i quickly tried to slow him down. Ruth had more problems getting a Ned of a horse who kept trying to bite teh other horses. She was on probation being led by one of the guides for most of the journey.
Next day involved archery and turtle rock. Turtle rock awakened in me a desire to find rocks and hills that look like animals, and since i've seen Camel point in New South Wales wich has reaffirmed this desire, i know theres a Mt. Buffalo in Oz but if anyone knows any others tell me.
Anyway the Ger camp was a fantastic experience and was most peoples highlight of the trip. The scenery was fantastic, we even visted on a mongolian family who gave us some fermented mares milk and some buttererd biscuits. The mare's milk was foul, with a tang of cider but a couple of em would get ya pissed so its not all bad.
We headed back to UB, went to the International intellectual Museum (a weird museum full of puzzles), went to a traditional mongolian show, which was brilliant especially the throat singing which was much repeated on the next leg of the train journey then back to Chinggis to get comprehensively pissed (Ruth escorted me home). Or so i thought because the next day i first saw Gary in the lobby supping on some tea and absolutely hammered hoping Matt had bought him some fruit (which he had). Then there was Peter.... a man so pissed he carried some dirty underwear around in his pockets for the next several hours as he proffesed his love for Olga. It was a group effort to get him on the train involved four to get him on the bus. The only things he lost on his misadventure was his camera and some pride. According to Gary "Peter would've been dead had it not been for him".
We then travelled out of Mongolia through the Gobi which led to an extremely dusty train.
Next stop Beijing