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I’ve been back for 5 months now and, for the most part, I’ve forgotten about this blog. I still have another year of hosting left, however, and there seems to be at least a few hits per day so I figure it doesn’t hurt to add a few new things. I finally got the picture from the Gobi trip I took in May (thanks Ruth!) and it reminded of how amazing this experience was (and that I actually miss it quite a bit). The pictures come from about three or four different cameras and the quality of some isn’t great, but there are some really good ones in there. I can’t really recall all the details and names of the places, so I won’t write a whole lot about it.
Two important things I will note:
Tourism in Mongolia, for the most part consists, of getting a group of people together and jumping in a Russian Jeep (Orosnei Mashin – looks like a VW bus with big tires), then heading out straight in one direction out of the city. The final destination is not as important as the journey to it, and it is pretty easy to find something interesting no matter which direction you head. Jeep drivers somehow have a sixth sense about which of the hundreds of intertwining barely visible dirt tracks crisscrossing the steppe to take, and getting lost is pretty hard to define. The real dangers are getting stuck, getting caught in a dust storm, and breaking down (especially in winter).
The most impressive thing about the thousands of square kilometres of nothing is just how different that nothing can look like: we drove through fields of green grass, fields of purple flowers, yellow flowers; red, white, brown, yellow, and black sand; parched scrub lands, dunes, rock fields, and areas with dump truck sized boulders and sheets of shale; rocky mountains, and dried up-lake beds. Also no matter where we went and no matter how dry and brutal things looked, there was always some kind of plant life happening. With that there was always rodents, and hawks, kites, and eagles to eat them; gazelles; Bactrian camels; herds of goats and sheep; herder families and even the occasional stunted village or town. So a basic, brutal cycle of life.
Here’s the rest of what we saw. It’s definitely a very exciting place for geology, geography, and zoology, but not much else.
Flaming Cliffs (Bayan Zag)
Singing Sands (Khongoryn Els)
Ice Canyon (Yolyn Am)
Dalanzagad Aimag Capital
White Cliffs (?)
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