Monday June 15: Darkhan, Mongolia
7:30 More eggs, wieners and dry toast for breakfast. I wouldn’t mind an unappetizing breakfast if it was what the locals ate but they think they’re providing us with something familiar and therefore enjoyable. It’s edible but not enjoyable.
8:40 We leave Darkhan and head toward Terelj National Park. There’s a detour due to construction just a short distance from town so we do go off-road once again.
10:00 I feel guilty for not watching the scenery but I mange to finish The Consul’s File by Paul Theroux. I’ve been lugging it around since Buenos Aires.
12:30 We stop in Bayanchandmani for what’s billed as Mongolian Spaghetti. I’d describe it as home-made flour noodles with stir-fried beef or yak and vegetables. They have Heinz ketchup and Hot Sauce. The portion fills a small platter.
15:24 I’m sitting in the roof seats as we approach turtle rock. Rachel is understandably worried about low-hanging wires so I have to get down. The view from the roof is amazing, even in clouds of dust.
18:00 We have found a place to camp. The tents are up, Neill and Rachel have volunteered to do the final dinner, and Bayaraa and I set off in search of water. Among Bayaraa’s many skills is the ability to find running water at the top of a hill. We come across a spring and fill three jerry cans which are then carried back to camp. It’s about 2 km. I’ll sleep well tonight.
23:00 It’s our final campfire as a group so everyone tells at least one story. Some people are born storytellers and other maybe not. Ros has some good vet stories, Steph and Zoe have a few nursing tales, and of course Yarom has us spellbound with more hostage negotiation stories. Frankie makes mulled wine. This stuff would have come in handy on our of our colder nights.
Tuesday, June 16: Terelj National Park, Mongolia
8:00 Breakfast is rice pudding made from leftover rice.
11:30 We arrive at the Chinngis Khan statue and museum. Everyone poses in front of the truck with the statue in the background and Yarom gets a shot with his camera and tripod. The museum has a good collection of Bronze Age artifacts, including stirrups. The Great Mongol empire rose to prominence largely s a result of the strip which allows riders to stand and shoot a bow and arrow while riding. Bayaraa takes me to the top of the statue for some photos. It’s our last time together.
19:00 We have one final group dinner at Mexican/Indian restaurant. I usually avoid such combos but this one was actually pretty good. Maybe it was the company. Amaraa shows up, so it’s a full reunion.