Woke feeling my head was on fire, the radiator had been turned on overnight, looked out the window to amazingly blue skies and flat steppes totally empty but for a huge black dog ambling across the plains.
Stopped at a little town got out and walked around, beautiful crisp air, sunny, heroic sculpture of a man with what looks like a missile launcher, the attendants all line up at attention outside the carriage doors whenever we stop. Horses, camels, eagles, dogs, cows, gers. Breakfast, Andrew fried rice, me omelet with onion, sat in dining car watching the steppes fly past, lots of little ger towns, dogs roaming, coal mines, coal trains, horses, a fox bounding away.
Coming into Ulaanbaatar, a cemetery with a huge Buddha on the hill, lovely valley with streams and yellow trees, gers and brightly colored houses on the outskirts, taxi, crazy traffic just like in China no one takes any notice of pedestrians on crossings, the Puma Imperial Hotel just like its name.
Thought we should confirm flight to Ulgii, receptionist phoned Eznis who said we didn't have a booking even though we had paid for it so we walked 15 mins to their office past a group of homeless dogs basking in the sun in a park, Mongolians in traditional dress, the square with sculptures of the Khans, at the office she indicated she couldn't find our booking then without comment just printed out the tickets.
Back to hotel crossing roads by attaching ourselves to groups of Mongolians thinking safety in numbers
Phoned Anar, UB much less grim than I expected, colorful exuberant friendly people, traffic crazy, constant blaring of horns. Huge hotel room, had dinner with Anar in Indian restaurant in hotel, good food, $38 for the 3 of us. Anar lovely looking, very nice and interesting said Mongolian horses wild and hard to control but you mustn't show fear, most Mongolians don't like the Chinese, caught 3 fish in Terelj last weekend, has eaten marmot and said we would come across spicy sausage made from dried horses intestines - yum! Said horse meat common, has also been to Potania glacier where we are going. Back to hotel room, had a scotch (no wine with dinner, restaurants not allowed to serve alcohol on 1st day of the month). Room very warm slept with windows open
Category:Travel and Places
Keywords:Mongolia, Trans Mongolian express, Ulaanbaatar