31 May 2018

Saying good bye to our nomadic hosts!

We had a great time with our gracious hosts. Learnt a lot of things about their lives. And what a tough life they lead. To give you a rough idea, the lady has to get up early in the morning to milk the cattle. Amongst camels alone, she has to milk 30 of them. Morning and evening!

They do all this shepherding, milking and all that – thru intensely high temperatures and intensely low temperatures, sometimes with howling winds. With no holidays. Every single day of the week.

One thing I noticed is that every ger has a car (I guess there is no other way to get supplies from the city). And that they all send their young kids to schools (which is often many, many miles away).

This is a very hard place to live in.

But I would be lying if I did not tell you how much this place has charmed me.

31 May 2018

Absolutely the very best part of my trip!

I got to motorbike!

In the Gobi desert, no less!!

I asked our host if I could try out the motorcycle he used for shepherding the cattle. He immediately jumped to it, cleaned up the seat and invited me in.

As many of you know, motorbiking is one of my latest passions. But to get to ride a off-road bike in the king-of-all-off-roads – Gobi desert… I head never even dreamt of it!

Took the bike for a ride in the dry, arid, vast nothingness.

Apparently, I kept going straight for so long that Roger wondered (I heard that in the video he took of me and showed me later) “Does he know how to take a turn”? Not sure what he was worried of? It was not like I was going to run into a tree or something 🙂

Best experience ever for me!! This ranks way up there with running the original marathon in Greece on the route of Phidipiddes!

31 May 2018

Roger and his cycle!!

Roger found a bicycle lying by the ger. I suspect the kids of the ger (who were in school) use it. The chain was off. No problems.

Roger tinkered around with it, fixed it and then off he went for a ride in the desert!!

31 May 2018

Hormug, anybody?

The final drink of the day was something called “hormug”. We had heard about “airag” which is an alcohol made from mare’s milk. But were disappointed to find out that this is not the season for it. We need to come about three months later to taste it.

Not to worry! The host had the version made from camel’s milk ready for us! I guess this is the season for alcohol made from camel’s milk.

Hormug is made by first making yogurt from camel’s milk and then fermenting it.

It had virtually no nose, a distinctly sour (like that of sour cream) palate and a very strong earthy finish to it.

31 May 2018

Mongolian Vodka!

The Russians who are next door to Mongolia and had political power over Mongolia for some time has certainly had their effect on this country. You will see a lot of old Russian vehicles in the desert areas – they look boxy and have no air conditioning. You saw the gun a few posts back.

And also vodka!!

Our host – if you recollect who had gone out to shepherd in the camels – eventually came back and started pouring a clear liquid with some small ingredients – I could not figure out what they were – for us. It is called the Mongolian vodka. Made from wheat, it has a very bland taste to it.

The custom is to pour it in a bowl and give it to a guest. The guest sips whatever amount they want and then they give the bowl back to the host. The host fills it back and passes to the next guest. And this is continued till every guest has had three chances!!

I drank up a bit. Figured it would wash off that camel meat from the tea before well!!

31 May 2018

Then came tea!

But this is no ordinary tea. Nothing that you have ever drunk. And absolutely not for the weak of the heart or the stomach.

This tea was made using butter first and then camel’s milk. Then they pour a type of rice in it. After that, the tea is added. And then finally, they put in…. are you ready for this? … camel meat!!

Yes, we had tea from a bowl using a tea to scoop up the camel’s meat (which was very very hard) and rice from it!!

Wow!

31 May 2018

Drinking camel’s milk! First time ever in my life!!!

The lady offered us some camel’s milk after we settled down. She had warmed it up and put salt in it for us to drink. Apparently, in Mongolian culture, you always accept the bowl with your right hand with your left hand touching the right elbow. And you always drink a sip. They do not mind if you do not go further than that. But it is not cool to say No when offered something to eat.

Taking no chances of offending them, I finished off the whole bowl!!

31 May 2018

Check out the hacksaw!

I guess everybody has customs and beliefs. Even after surviving such a hard life, the nomads believe in keeping a hacksaw near the ger door to keep the evil spirits away!!

Also note how bright the inside walls and door look with that orange color!