Edit Blog Post
Published: August 29th 2011
Our trusty vehicle. Russian made and invincible, the driver Adjua even elected to stick some funky wheels on it, making it quite good looking in my opinion.
This is going to be a surprisingly short post considering how much has happened in the last month, but its precisely because so much has happened that I am going to let the pictures and accompanying text do all the talking,
Mongolia was simply amazing, but not easy.
It was a rapid process of readjustment. A few weeks before Mongolia I would have gawped at the prospect of not having a private bathroom in my private air conditioned room. A week in to the trip we were just over the moon if the area we stayed each night had access to running water. Electricity was a real treat.
I am sure I am not the only one who was thinking “oh lord, what have I let myself in for” within the first few days of leaving UB. Bouncing around the back of the Van all day, with no running water, a wooden plank bed and a meal of Mutton and Noodles as a evening meal every night for three weeks was a daunting prospect. But this country had a way of making all the difficult times worth it.
I always ask myself the same
Within a couple of hours of leaving UB we encountered a gathering that involved Horse racing. I discovered that it was a family gathering in honour of a Couples 50th wedding anniversary. Therse guys are born in the saddle, the riders were only about 10 at most.
question when I leave a country, would I return? Well in the case of Mongolia, certainly, yes I would. But I would do it differently, I would try and tackle it independently. It would not be easy, but as a Canadian chap I met who had bought some Camels at a market and traversed the Gobi proved, it is possible. Don’t get me wrong, I saw some fantastic places, and spend some fantastic times with some fantastic people, but I did not get the social and cultural interactions I yearned for. They were there, within grasp, but being on an organized tour meant an Itinerary and itineraries when you are travelling don’t encourage just seeing what happens, which I like to do.
So if you can endure the travelling discomfort, terrible food and lack of a decent bed you should come to Mongolia, and you will be rewarded by seeing some of the most magical scenery and meeting some of the most hospitable and resourceful people on the planet.
So what next for John on his travels?
Well I am currently in Koh Chang in Thailand after flying from UB to Beijing, Beijing to Guangzhou, and Guangzhou
A view I was going to have to get very used to. Not a road in sight. For three weeks.
to Bangkok. Thailand was not on the original plans, but like rules, plans are there to be broken, this is the freedom that being an independent traveler allows.
After the tortuous time in China and the physically demanding time in Mongolia, I decided to award myself a month long holiday in Thailand, a holiday from travelling. But you are still travelling I hear you all shriek! This is true, but Thailand, like most of SE Asia, is a very easy place to travel. Easy transportation, easy communication, cheap accommodation, lovely food…..its just easy. And it’s also cheap, which at this stage of the trip is becoming more essential.
I am not really planning to do very much in Thailand, just relax and let time pass. Try and achieve that wonderful relaxed state of mind that can only be achieved by doing nothing and having nothing to do. I am thinking of capitalizing on the enforced weight loss from Mongolia by eating lots of vegetables and going swimming everyday.
After Thailand I am going to fly to Sri Lanka, I had wanted to go India but I hear Sri Lanka described as “Diet India”, a taste of the
Mongolia was full of huge Vistas, too huge for my little Camera to handle.
Indian way of life without the raw and punishing travelling experience that makes so many people either love or hate India. I have not really planned much for Sri Lanka but will spend my time in Thailand planning some sort of fun expedition, my good friend Bryn told me it is always best to travel with an expedition in mind.
And it’s precisely for this reason I have chosen my next destination after Sri Lanka will be Tanzania followed by Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and finally South Africa. My reason for heading to Africa is two fold, firstly it is to hunt down some family links and secondly, it’s just a place I have always wanted to go, it’s been calling for the last few months.
My Uncle John and Aunt Margaret were both born in Tanzania, I will head there to see the place they were born (Kibondo and Tabora) and my Father worked in a Hospital in Zambia (Ndola, which is a big city in the North near the Congo border) so I will try and find the Hospital he worked in.
Africa will not be accessible like SE Asia so I will utilize the wonderful
Not another vehicle in sight but Aduja still pulled over to the side of the “road”. At this point the sheer isolation was still a novelty.
resource of Couch surfing. Couch surfing is a website that introduces travelers to willing residents to stay with. This will open up all sorts of opportunities that staying in Hotels and Hostels does not allow. What it also means is that you must be willing to reciprocate the favour so don’t be surprised if I find myself having random Africans sleeping on my sofa in the future.
Like I say, I am going to let the pictures do that taking on this post, there are many many pictures, so make yourself a cup of tea, sit back and enjoy. Think of it as my Bank Holiday present to you!
As always I hope things are well with you all.
All my love
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