Monday 8/7/19

Set off in our decorated bus , interior has brocade hangings along the windows and brocade seats to match plus faux crystal on the hand grips to get in and on the gear stick. Have not checked the steering wheel, some gear changes suggest clutch difficulties.

First stop was the giant Ghenggis Khaan statue, we knew him as Ghengis Khan.

Plonked in the countryside, cost 4 m , made of stainless steel. A zillion steps up  inside and you stand inside his hand!!

A thriving set of businnesses have been set up around it, double humped camel rides(local camels have two humps and are very hairy), hold the golden eagle or a vulture(not popular) ride a pony or drink a local hooch. I fif not give to the local industries.

very soon after  leaving UB we were in rolling countryside, complete with herders , sheep, horses, cattle and goats plus gers. All very National Geographic. Countryside is quite green as good rain in early June. 

All Mongolians are entitled to a .75 ha piece of land , so you see odd fences off bits, some with gers on, some with nothing, some with dead trucks and some with little brick houses. Better off people in the countryside or in the towns build log houses. 

The chopping up of land has the potential  to muck up the nomadic herders lives and livelihood.

40% of Mongolians are herders , was 60% so declining.  Nowadays Farm bikes are used as much as horses . The horses are beautiful, not large but not ponies either.

Finally arrived at Terelj National Parkr. A lovely valley with a river , big rock formations and lots of larch and poplar trees. Obviously been no planning or oversight as to where the ger camps can be set up, so lovely pristine landscape is being desecrated by ugly blots of the ger camps. Most have about twenty-thirty gers and a dining room of varying architectural quality. Gers are lined with felted wool but covered with white canvas so hard to disguise.

My ger was identical to its neighbour , you tend to walk round and round inside!! My planning re toilet worked- thank you Lorraine and Jill.

Food was good, very similar food everywhere to

home- no boiled mutton yet! 

Next morning two hours back to UB , a visit to a buddhist monastery, in central UB. There are a lot of buddhists in Mongolia but from 1923 on till 1952 they wete persecuted by the Chinese then the Russians. Thousands of monasteries were destroyed.

Next stop the last Kings palace complex. A series of lovely traditional style one level Chinese influenced temples and alongside that, a present from Czar Nicholas, a white two storey palace/house really. Quite incongruous, contained various collections including a lot of taxidermy. Our kiwi eyes spied a kakapo and a takahe!!!! This was all built and collected early twentieth century. King was deposed 1923. Some sublime silk embroidery.

Back to the hotel, room not as good as first round plus aircon not working, suspect it will not be during my three night stay.

Cultural display  followed by another good dinner. The cultural display/concert was excellent, throat singers , cossack style dancing, ballet, etc etc even two very bendy gymnasts concluded with the Mongolian State Orchestra.

So far so good, only two in the group who I would cheerfully hire a hit man for.