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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Mongolia day 2


Yesterday I forgot to mention that I held an eagle on my arm at one of our stops.  What a majestic bird, but if it turned on me it would have torn me apart.

Today was another day we were on the move.  We left Ulaanbaatar and headed north.  Our first stop was the Gokturk Inscriptions.  The pillars memorialize the Gokturk Empires reach into Asia between 552-745.  The monuments were erected to leave their history and culture for following generations.  It just reminds me that every worldly empire eventually falls.

Following that we went and saw the world's biggest statue of Genghis Khan which also is the worlds largest statue with a horse.  It is over 100 feet tall.
World's largest statue of Genghis Khan.
Like I mentioned yesterday the Mongols are very proud of Genghis Khan and this statue exemplifies that.  I guess you could say it is the like the Statue of Liberty for Mongolia, but if we put it put it in the middle of Wyoming so that no one would see it.  But I enjoyed it very much.

Lastly we went to Tereljh National Park which is situated in a mountain valley.  To get there we passed Ovoo.  This is a pile of stones built as a landmark for worship near the mountain pass.  We are spending the night at a camp in the park.  Our accommodations are a simple yurt.  OK...it's a little more than just basic...we have a concrete floor, a light bulb, and a single outlet.
Our yurt.
So I am sitting here writing my post in a cross of two worlds.  On one hand I am in a dwelling that has been around for  centuries and on the other hand I am using modern technology to write about.  I can hear the rain drops gently falling on the roof.  A yurt is nomadic dwelling.  It can be torn down, moved, and re-erected in a short amount of time.  It only takes about 2 hours to set one up.  It is not made for tall people, I've already hit my head twice on the door frame while exiting.  Inside is quite comfortable.  We do have a small stove, but it is not that cold yet.  I can't imagine what it is like in a yurt in the middle of winter.  This is a very cold country, in fact Ulaanbaatar is the coldest capital in the world.  The Siberian winds blow across the barren land.

I got to try my had at archery with a typical Mongolian bow.  I was also able to go horse back riding on a Mongolian horse.  They are smaller than European horses, but they are more hardy because they are used for everything.
Little Mongolian girl.
Horses were a great commodity for the Mongolian empire and still today they play an important role in existence here.

Today's excursion into exotic culinary samplings was Kumis.  Kumis is fermented horse milk.  It had a sour, bubbly, gamie, yogurt like taste.  It was worth trying but I'll stick to kefir.  I still hope to try horse meat.

Well good night from the middle of nowhere.  God bless!

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