Published: November 4th 2008October 29th 2008
Km travelled 12383
We stood silently looking at the frost particles sparkling in the air, supported by a slow wind.
It's time to go. Everything is already packed inside the car. We felt very comfortable here at the lake, and leaving is always a bit sad. Moogi and his family have been very nice and friendly. How different is their life from ours. A life dictated by the sun and the moon, the winter and the summer. One solar panel to put outside the ger during the day, enough to charge cell phones and watch satellite TV. The white lake sleeping between the mountains, always in front of your eyes. Before leaving the lake we made a stop at the shore to buy some milk and gave a lift to the lady up to the village. It's a long way to the Tsenher hot springs. We made a stop to look down at the river Chuluut half frozen in the depth of its canyon. Lunch was in an incredibly busy shed in the middle of nowhere. The soundtrack of this endless journeys on Ochkhar's wreck, is a tape of traditional Mongolian music bought at a stand leaving Ulaanbaatar.
Ochkhar is always singing along.
During the afternoon we had a flat tyre. Fortunately, and I'd like to underline that has been a fortune, we had a spare tyre. We are still quite surprised that the car is not losing pieces on the road, so this was the least that could happen and we were honestly expecting it. It's almost 6.30 pm when we arrived here. We waited for our ger to be ready and then dropped our stuff inside and went down to the hot springs. We couldn't imagine such a long day could have been so rewarding.
It's just the two of us here. We got changed in the shower room and than we ran on the snow and jumped into the pool. We watched the stars light up one by one and the day disappear behind the mountains, while we were floating in the middle of the valley.
Km travelled 12523
In Mongolia tarmac is a mirage. In fact we thought we saw it at some stage, but it disappeared so quickly that we still think it was a mirage. Due to this lack of tarmac today we got another flat tyre. Amazing.
We must have had some fortune left from yesterday, because in the boot of the car, under all our bags, was buried a spare tube. The thing took a bit long but outside was so cold and windy that I'd rather sit in the car. Michael thought that it was worth giving a hand with a pump that didn't look very efficient.
At some point we finally got back on our way towards Tovkhon monastery. We made a few stops attempting to buy some horse milk but without success. We also suspect that Ochkhar wasn't sure about the way, and we are quite impressed that he could manage to take us to all these places in a country without signs or roads.
Few kilometres away from the monastery the car had to stop because of too much snow. Dava packs our lunch and we start walking through the forest. With all that snow is impossible to spot the path and in fact, after a while, we eventually got lost. Not properly lost, but we lost our way to the monastery. Or we should say that Dava got lost. Anyway there wasn't much choice, the forest was so thick that you
couldn't see far. We walked back to the car where we found Ochkhar fixing tyres and we had our lunch of spicy noodles there. We made a last attempt to find another way with the car, but soon gave up thinking that the chances were very few. So instead of wasting hours wandering in the forest in search of the monastery, we headed to the Orkhon waterfall where we're going to spend the night. Michael has this amazing gift of being able to sleep anywhere, so he managed to do it also on the car bouncing up and down. By mid afternoon we were here. The place is gorgeous, vast and yellow, surrounded by white mountains. We left our stuff in the ger and went immediately for a walk to the waterfall. We reached from the top of the canyon and we found ourselves in front of this natural wonder. The waterfall completely frozen despite some water still running, and the pond at the bottom a thick layer of ice. Unfortunately for you we can share only a bit of this wonderful view because we ran out of batteries pretty soon. After a while searching we eventually found a way
to go down the canyon and see the waterfall from the bottom. Despite Michael's numerous attempts and great effort in throwing stones on top of the ice, it didn't show any sign of weakness. But unfortunately the margins appeared to be all broken and watery so we didn't try the jump.
The family that runs the guesthouse is very nice and helpful. The man in rubber boots is missing all his middle teeth and knows few English words. He came to the ger and filled it with wood for the fire, and connected the light bulb to the car battery. She came with more wood and moved the battery away from the fire. Their little boy took two more pieces of wood and made sign that they were for the fire. Later he ran in once with a bottle of ketchup and once with a bottle of water.
In the centre of the ger three scarves hang from the ring, a blue, a green and a red. The sky, the grass and the fire. It's very hot in here.
Our usual night trip ended up with the dogs chasing us in the dark until we were so scared to panic
about what to do. And we walked slowly to our ger feeling such a relief when we finally closed the door behind us. The night has also been revived by two drunk guys that came to argue with the family man and have been shouting for ages outside.
There are more photos below