Post # 115 Ulaanbaatar
Day 144 587 days to go. Distance: today 82km total 8173 km. Its 8.00pm Sunday 22/4/2012 Ulaanbaatar. Hi there on this sleepy Sunday. Well it seems to be for some local folk at least. Ive been so used to SE Asia and China being 7 days of same same but not so here on face value. It much like back home with a lazy Sunday feel. Not so for us chicks but. We headed off for a cycle day on the road eastwards towards Terelj National Park. The National Park is 78km but the ride out there is open plains and rolling hills so very nice for a day trip. Rube and I loved being back in the saddle and had a cool bonding day. It’s been 3 weeks since we’ve done anything decent together so we had fun. The scenery was wonderful and we managed some cool pickies along the way. The day was comparatively warm say early 20s but there was still snow patches on the ground and the creeks were frozen on top at least. I saw a few flowing patches so spring is trying to nudge it’s way in. The wind was pretty full on being so open and a wicked south easterly. We had a few blown-off the road moments that added to the day’s adventure. Better still we got some great tail wind sections early on the way back into UB. Our weeeeee fun was short lived as a dust storm blew in from the west and we cycled into it for the last hour. It was an amazing thing to see on the horizon. I managed to capture some picks but it didn’t do the force of the storm justice. There was a constant strong wind but then it would gust and send brown dust swirls upwards. It was wicked and really interesting. Ive never seen anything like this before. It’s still really windy outside but the dust has eased up. I was cycling back just in time for a skype date with my partner so I havent as yet had a shower. Anywhere that was exposed is brown like around my sunglasses. It’s a sexy look and a shower will be nice a bit later. I got a few things to do first. Ive filled out my visa registration application and got my warmer cycling gear ready for tomorrows pedal back out to immigration. On the way back today I passed a Korean fella on a cycling tour of Mongolia for 3 months. He was heading out to Terelj for a few days but coming back to UB. We’ve exchanged emails and Ive invited him to dinner when he gets back so I hope to hear from him. It’ll be great to touch base with him and pick his brain for info and tips. His set up was the best Ive seen and very professional. Last night I headed out into town and walked about a different mall area. It was quite a meeting place so good for some subtle people watching. It’s a bit hard to people watch when I’m the one being checked out 🙂 There were some fabulous copper relief murals in the mall and I snapped a picky with the one I liked most. I thought I’d snavel what company I could with a dash of serenading 🙂 All shananagans aside it was a cool piece of art. Just before turning round today I stopped to check where we were on the map and this fella appeared from nowehere. He was very much jolly on the liquor he was carrying but full of friendliness. He could hardly put a sentence together but was keen to share his story and spittle with me eeeeek. I broke his momentum with a photo which he loved and took the chance to exit. We got to quite a high point where we turned round and there was a chorton pole on top with silk scarfs, prayer players, a Buddhist brass bell and cow skulls decorating it. We passed another larger one adorned similarly but with a set of crutches added to the offerings 🙂 I also noticed blue scarfs tied randomly to bridges or road signs. I believe they are to wish a safe journey but I’ll find out more about this as I go along. The folk here love nibbling on a small round roasted nut. It’s common to see piles of shells scattered on the footpaths and about where folk have sat for a time. We passed a number of small towns tucked in the valleys where the road passed. Townsfolk were selling bags of these nuts by the roadside. There’s also many vendors in town selling the same but it was nice to give my pennies to a couple today very pleased about the sale. They weren’t keen for a photo but. I have read that its important to ask before taking a photo. Ive found it better to invite them to join a self portrait which I did today which they refused and to be respected. And that’s about us for today. I’m still to go to the shops for some fresh bread and download the photos from today so I’ll finish up there. I have a line of dust on my top lip that looks very dodge like vegetate or a penciled on mow. mmmm sexy on the inside? Oh well it’ll give the locals in the supermarket and internet cafe a good giggle 🙂 Talk soon x
PS the Internet place was all shut up on this sleepy Sunday night so hold tight and I’ll sort photos tomorrow. Speaking of photos I had a look through the ones from today and missed a couple of things for the post. I took a picture o a roadsigns to show the cyrillic language. The first name is Ulaanbaatar. You can see what I need brush up on the Cyrillic alphabet oath wise we’ll have little clue about road signs. There’s definitely no English sub titles this part of the world 🙂 It appears the lion is a national symbol and there’s a huge monument at an intersection on the eastern side of town. I carried rube up the stairs to get a picky with her.
We had a giggle at the four lion bottoms facing outwards from the monument. We got a photo of one grand lion butt with the dust storm in the background. Time to de-dust and dinner x