Photography Tour, Camels, Horses, and a Ger Visit, Kharakhorum, Mongolia: August 29, 2018
Very near Kharakhorum we visited a group of camels. One of the young camels was hyper friendly and had been taught at least one trick. If you hold a cracker between your lips, the camel will take it. Dan volunteered to be the straight man in this gag. Before I could even snap the shutter, she grabbed the cracker leaving only cracker crumbs and camel saliva on Dan's lips. I think she really liked him because even without the cracker, she kept trying to smooch him.
Alison arranged for us to take photos of a photogenic Mongolian wrangler one early morning. His name is Batmunkh. Unfortunately, on that morning, the light was terrible and while Batmunkh seemed to be enjoying the attention, he was in a hurry to move on.
Late afternoon, we went on another ger visit. This was our first time in a Mongolian ger which is smaller and less decorated than the Kazakh gers.
These gers are occupied by two brothers, their wives, and daughters. Gombo, the older brother is married to Jambal and their daughter is Narangarav. Byambasuren, the younger brother, is married to Ganchimeg and they have a daughter named Maralgoo.
First, Jambal showed us how she milks the mares. The milk is fermented into Airag. The fermentation process destroys the lactose thereby allowing those who are lactose intolerant (like many Mongolians) to drink it. With an alcohol percentage of about 2% it is consumed by all ages.
|Jambal milking a mare while her brother-in-law Byambusuren holds the colt|
|Gombo Ochir husband of Jambal|
|Byambasuren, husband of Ganchimeg|
During most of our visit, it had been lightly sprinkling. As the rain stopped and the clouds let the sun through, the most vivid rainbow that I've ever seen suddenly appeared.
|Gombo with his niece Maralgoo and daughter Narangarav|
|Narangarav and Maralgoo, age 9, |
before they put on their fancy dresses
There was singing and toasting and gifts were given by us to our hosts.
Back on the other side of the river and high on a hill near the monument to Chinggis Khan, we watched the sun set over Kharakhorum.
On the tops of hills or next to roads we often saw piles of stones adorned with scarves, skulls, or other bits. These mounds are called "ovoos" and the stones are deposited by Buddhist pilgrims as offerings to the deities. Pilgrims circumambulate the ovoos three times, clockwise, while reciting mantras and adding rocks, scarves, money to the pile. They ensure good luck for the traveler.
Next stop: The Gobi Desert