Food for thought but no stomach for Korean
Bus to Dalanzadgad
Sanitary stop in the desert
Entrance to the khasha
Ger with view of the mountains
Building up the new ger
Crappy tent on ger platform
Grandma's vegetable garden
Tzaja harvesting fresh veggies
Meandering irrigation system
Well and water storage
Nice configuration of prints and colours
Patched but clean hotel walls
Repairing a painting Mongolian style
Cooking tea, soup, porridge, roasted oats, hot soymilk
Room with a view of the mountains
Dinasours on main street
Ger sell place thingy
Decorated ger parts
Downtown city planning
New dress for wedding accompanied by a runny nose
It had to happen of course. I’d already had a fling with food poisoning earlier on, but this week nature decided to intervene. During my ten days in Ulaanbaatar I found it increasingly difficult to think. The city was crowded and so was my brain. I stayed at the Mongolian Steppe Guesthouse, a friendly place with ample opportunity to meet interesting people. However, stimulation was not what I was looking for, I needed space to organize my research. Fortunately I could stay the last few days with Froit from Euroyurts and his lovely Mongolian wife. He has an exceptional comfy sofa in a spacious and cosy living room and I finally got some rest. After I finished all the organizing and postcard writing I took the night bus to the Gobi.
Packed with twenty five kilogram of just-in-case madness I made my way through town. The plan was to walk up into the mountains, pitch my newly bought but crappy tent, and go back for a meal. Of course the mountains were not within my walking distance. After fourty minutes of ger-district I finally made it to the edge of town. What the hell was I doing? After a break, a pat on my back and a deep draw of breath I decided to walk into one of the nearest khasha’s or enclosure. After all, this was what I wanted to do, right? Meet local people, get to know them and write about them. I would have to do this everyday during my nomadic experiment in Amsterdam, so I might as well start now.
Saihan took me to a nice restaurant that served good Korean food. At least, the taste was great. He told me about his life as a guide and English teacher and gave me a few handy tips. With a stomach full of pepper and a light spirit I walked the 2,5 km back to the family. That night the series Vomit with a View broadcasted a few new episodes. The first time was kinda funny with the stars shining bright in front of my tear filled eyes, I even wrote to Jos about it in cheerful tones. But the second time included a number two, and the third and fourth times were nasty.
How to live a rich life with little stuff? When you are having a bad cold on top of food poisoning it is all about maximizing fun. iPod, cooking gear and (paper) notebook are my best friends. I cherish the trips to the internet cafe and the calls with Jos and my parents. I even made it to the wedding. But more importantly, my brain has finally shifted into gear again. My mind is constantly making up plans, recalling interviews, reflecting on situations and enjoying the prospect of seeing Jos again. I write letters to him about project, travel and inner workings. I even do some yoga and meditation, especially necessary as I am only slowly getting better. But the fun wears off after five days in a hotel. I have postponed my hitchhiking plans to Monday and I try to rest as much as my restless mind will let me.