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So Far So Good!

August 9, 2015 2 Comments

I’ve been inspired to blog again and first I want to say hello to all the wonderful people we’ve met on the way – those who’ve come to say hello and show interest in our trip and those who have helped us in so many different ways.

People like Rina, in Dili, who gave us her home, Caesar, who spent so much of his time helping us with visas, Hamiri, who, with his family, were excellent hosts and who took Alan to get the Cruiser serviced, Glenn and Jenn, from Artouro Island for their friendship, company and tours on land and sea and Leili, who gave so freely of her time to help us and be an amazing friend.

There’s also Green, our lovely guide in China, Hendo for joining us through Thailand, Laos and China and adding hugely to our enjoyment of that section of the trip, Hamish and his colleague in Ulaan Bator, who saved us from having to get border permits and the lovely manager of the California Cafe in UB and her staff. And there are many more – too many to list!

Next, Happy Birthday to everyone we’ve missed since leaving!

Now, the Gobi Desert..

I’m sitting in the Cruiser, bumping along over what looks like a moonscape. This would have to be the driest part of the desert yet. There aren’t even any camels here! It’s a drab plain dotted with green clumps and ringed with dark grey rocky hills.

Donna and I are suffering as we sit, as we spent 80 minutes yesterday sitting on enormous Bactrian camels, plodding across the desert to the Khongoryn Els, giant sandhills. Camel riders must develop a nice big callus in their nether regions to be able to sit for hours on a camel’s spine! With only two carpet mats as saddles we’re now rather sore and sorry!

Wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

Alan tried to scale one of the largest dunes, while I lay on my back in the shade of the car and had a read. He then suffered stiff thigh muscles for 12 hours. I think the beautiful bottle of Italian malbec we devoured while camping in the peaceful desert, as we watched the gorgeous 10pm sunset, helped soothe the pains.

Walking the Ice Canyon in Mongolia

Alan in the Ice Canyon in Mongolia

We’ve walked through a canyon with the vestiges of the 10 meter deep ice shelf of winter – it’s the middle of summer in the desert here!

We’ve clambered all over cliffs that rise out of the desert plains and searched for ancient petroglyphs (rock carvings 3000 – 8000 BC!!) on the top of a range of low mountains.

We’ve made friends with a gorgeous Mongolian horticulturist, who’s experimenting with growing windbreak trees and greenhouse vegetables in the desert. He gave us onions and a lift on his motorbike to collect a lost stick (yes, stick!). We gave him a vodka, cigarettes and some reading glasses. Perfect exchange!

There’s an amazing amount of wildlife too; we’ve seen vultures, eagles, pikas, cavies, lizards, a snake, camels, horses, goats and gazelles.

I’ve got a double-gashed shin, with a gash on the heel from doing a kamikaze leap (backwards) from the ladder of the rooftop camper. Landed on my back and the back of my head. Barry thought it was very elegant, as I landed with one leg pointing to the sky. Donna thought it was good I did it that morning, rather than the day before, when we were camped in a quarry (ouch!).

Alan didn’t want me to move until he was sure I was still in one piece! Just nursing the grazes now until the next camping injury…

We’ve been in Mongolia for 22 days now and camped 20 of them. Nobody seems to mind where we camp, as it’s something Mongolian people do too, unlike most Chinese. Some nights I’m totally on Hendo’s page about camping and other nights the desert serenity or the soft flow of a small river are the best balm for the soul!

Yesterday afternoon, after talking to a Canadian guy traveling solo in his old Land Rover, Al and I came across a body in the middle of nowhere. We pulled up beside a boy of about 12 or 13, saw he was breathing and watched as he leapt up in fright! Probably just having a snooze to get out of doing a job for dad. Scared the life out of us!

That’s Mongolia! Just don’t know what’s around the next bend…

Until next time!

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  1. Ken Johnson says:

    Fantastic Lynn. It’s good to see the enthusiasm continuing. Robyn and the boys say “Hi” as well. Enjoying the blog immensely. Cheers

  2. Just keeping my powder dry.
    PS Mr Taylor should have been in Real Estate.

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