Sunday, October 28, 2012

All Good Things...

Wednesday saw the end of our journey, and this is the end of my blog posts for this trip.  I'm not exactly thrilled to go back to school tomorrow, but just as I was ready to go back to my bed and everything else UB has to offer, I am ready to work again, since it will give me relief from all this free time.  In the last couple of days I watched all of Modern Family season 3 and the first five episodes of season 4, went to the grocery store everyday (it gave me something to do), and I need more to my life.  Of course, I could have gone in and got some things done.  I could have worked on my illustrations (especially now that I've finished Tom Sawyer).  Instead I was kind of lazy, and that was nice, but I bought a ticket to Shanghai for March 30, and I have a lot of work to do before then if I want to look the way I'd like to by then.  Anyways, the trip...
Mongol Els is a sand dune where a sand dune has no right to exist.  As I mentioned before, it's like a little bit of the Gobi wandered off from its parents and got lost, and is still waiting for someone to come and get it.  It makes me excited to go see the real Gobi (probably sometime next year - if our principal hasn't turned me in as an enemy of the state, I'm hoping to spend my next few vacations seeing places in China that I should have seen while I was living there...oh well).
You can't tell from my pictures, but it was chilly - not bone-jarringly cold, but cold enough.  A cold desert, of all things.  I rolled down the hill in the first picture, taking off my sweater, outside shirt, scarf, and hat first - it was cold, but I wanted to avoid getting as much sand into the car as possible.  Then, of course, I put it all back on to dig sand out from around said car, so I guess I could have saved time and just kept it all one.  Oh well, details.  That sand was pretty chilly, too, and moist enough to make a sandcastle, which hopefully means if I was ever stranded out there I'd be able to use survival tactics to get the water out, and not have to resort to drinking my own pee (I spent a lot of time watching Bear Grylls this spring...)
As I mentioned, Enkhe had herding friends nearby and we went to visit them on our way out.  This was all that was left of their camp, but they were happy to tie up their dog and have us in for my first non-taste of airag (fermented mare's milk, which is on the no-fly list for good little Mormon girls, so I merely pretended to take a sip...this morning the ladies from church told me I could dip my finger in it to wet my forehead with it, which would have the same effect).  They invited us to have lunch with their family, in the town of Gurvanbulag.
The wife and children of one of the men live here so the boys can go to school.  Lunch was not quite ready so we went to visit the school, which was really nice.  Unlike many small towns, Gurvanbulag has a brick school, which Enkhe said is because Mongolia's first astronaut, Gurragchaa Sansar, came from here.  Five was particularly impressed by the smart boards, which WE don't have.  I just thought the kids were ridiculously adorable.  Soon enough, we were back at the house enjoying lunch, and Enkhe got to catch up with his friends, and before we knew it, we were coming back into Ulaanbaatar, where we got stuck in the inevitable traffic.  And tomorrow school will start again, but no fear - in another 7 weeks we'll be out for the Christmas holiday.  And if it was colder on my way home from church than it was on my way there, I can rest sure in the knowledge that I have a couple of half-liter hot water bottles winging their way here from Wales to see me through the long winter.

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