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Gobi sand dunes

Three steps up two steps down.

all seasons in one day 25 °C
View Mongolia July 2007 on erodrigo's travel map.

We headed off in southern direction to another 5 star ger camp, this time in the south Gobi, near the Chinese border.
Near this new ger camp we finally saw, for the first time this trip, the enormous sand dunes for which the Gobi is famous. After settling in and close to sunset we drove to these sand dunes to climb them. We made a really exhausting climb up a 200-meter high sand dune and admired the sunset from the top. We had a bit of luck on our climb, because of the recent rain, the sand had hardened a bit so instead of going down two steps with every three steps up, we only went down one step with every three steps up.
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Back in our ger camp it started raining again and once in our gers to turn in for the night it started poring.
The next morning, Monday the 16th, the rain had cleared and we headed out of the Gobi on a northerly course.

During the day it started raining again and when we reached our next ger camp it seemed like a tropical rainstorm was upon us. But according to our local Mongolian guide we were one of the lucky groups, through our oneness and therefore able to reach this central camp between the south Gobi and the central Gobi.
As it turned out this camp is situated in a mountain range that separates the north from the south Gobi and is one of the rare crossing points to go north out of the Gobi. Several groups started the climb up to this camp to late and had to turn back because mud floods blocked their way up.

Posted by erodrigo 04:38 Archived in Mongolia Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

Dinosaurs

Does a museum have to be big to be interesting?

sunny 30 °C
View Mongolia July 2007 on erodrigo's travel map.

This morning we left for the flaming cliffs in the central Gobi. These all kinds of colours cliffs, but mainly red, hence the name where made famous in 1921. When an expedition finally resolved the question whether Dinosaurs are egg laying or life bearing animals.
Around these cliffs the expedition uncovered many dinosaur skeletons, but more importantly lots of eggs. Both of flesh eating dinosaurs, small eggs, and of plant eating dinosaurs, big eggs.
Next to these Grand Canyon like cliffs is a very tiny dinosaur museum in a typical Mongolian ger tent.
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In the afternoon, after we settled ourselves in our 5 star luxury ger tent resort, we drove to vulture canyon. Going up in the mountains the temperature dropped from about 30 °C to a refreshing 18 °C and the surroundings started to get very green.
During our horseback ride in the canyon we saw a lot of wildlife, but as luck would have it no vultures. We did however saw ice! Yes really mid July in the middle of the Gobi ice.
Hereafter we turned back to our ger camp and had a luscious warm shower a meal in an air-conditioned ger and electric sockets in our private ger tents to recharge our camera batteries.
Yes we’re really roughing it out here.

Posted by erodrigo 04:31 Archived in Mongolia Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

Friday the 13th

Why it’s never a good idea to travel on this day.

all seasons in one day 32 °C
View Mongolia July 2007 on erodrigo's travel map.

Yesterday we had a long day drive, 300 km, to reach our first ger camp. These 300 kilometres take about 9 hours going south from Ulaanbataar.
Today we had another long drive to our primitive campsite in the middle off the Gobi, but we made a lovely stop at a now almost dry lake. The lake had shrunk by a lack of rain and of a nearby mining site.
We had a big rain shower on the way to our campsite and were lucky enough to be just a few metres ahead of a mud flood up in a mountain range we crossed. The flood was building up and if we had reached the crossing 5 minutes later we would not have been able to cross the range and would be forced to turn back. We drove through the first waves of the flood and got the hell out of there because there was lots more coming down the mountain.
Other reasons why you should not travel on Friday the 13th: In the morning our car wouldn’t start and in the afternoon we had a blow out of a rear tire.
Almost enough to make you start believe all this nonsense about Friday the 13th.
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Posted by erodrigo 04:27 Archived in Mongolia Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

Nadam

The annual Mongolian festival

semi-overcast 28 °C
View Mongolia July 2007 on erodrigo's travel map.

We saw the archers and wrestlers coming into the stadium in their many coloured traditional outfits. Suddenly a loud eruption of enthusiasm from the local people, finally the very important traditional banners are brought in by proud Mongolian horsemen in parade uniforms.
I’m overwhelmed by the power they radiate and the influence their appearance has on the local people. As if Chinggis Khan himself is marching by just three feet away from you.
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After a lovely vegan menu, yes really, we leave Ulaanbataar in a gigantic traffic jam. It looks like all the 55.000 cars from the city decided to leave the city at the same time and all choose the same two lane street out of the city. What was a two-lane two-direction street quickly becomes a four-lane one-direction street, because everyone wants to see the finish of the race between the 5-year old stallions. The odd car that goes in the opposite direction has stopped trying to reach Ulaanbataar and the people are sitting next to it, looking at this big migration.
This 26 km race is so important because for the stallions it decides if they stay a stallion or become just a horse.
After a lovely meal in a French restaurant, which is owned by the typical arrogant Frenchman, we turned in for the night.

Posted by erodrigo 15:28 Archived in Mongolia Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

Beijing

In preparation for the Olympics

semi-overcast 27 °C

Well I arrived in Beijing and it’s one big building site for the upcoming Olympics.
Traffic is still booming and even more so than two years ago.
The Chinesw people really have discovered fast food because they are getting fat fast.
Luckily the real chinese food is still around and I enjoyed it very much. Tonight I’m going to eat Hot Pot or chinese fondue. Also something which is very good. If you like good food consider coming over.
Today we went to the great wall and the summerpalace. This contains the Marble boat built by the last empress of China. Yes the mother of the poor lonely last emperor of China.
Well tommorrow the real adventure starts when we fly to Mongolia. Two full weeks bumping in fomer Sovjet Kamaz trucks.
I’m sure I/m going to enjoy it.
Bye for now

Posted by erodrigo 18:03 Archived in China Tagged air_travel Comments (1)

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