Sain Bai Nu Mongolia!
It was 1am when we crossed the border from China into Mongolia, with much clanking and jolting, as the bogies on the train were changed from China’s narrower gauge to Mongolia’s wider gauge. It took three hours, and the toilets were locked the whole time. Uh Oh.
We got off the train in the capital, Ullaanbaatar. There are only 3 million people in Mongolia, and half of them live in UB. There are 39 million horses!
We’ve been here one day, and so far we’ve seen:
- A man try to roll start a bus. By himself.
- Lots of gers, some in the wilderness and lots more in backyards here in the city. Here is the view from our guesthouse.
- Camels! (they’re ‘double humpers’ Five points to whoever remembers the proper name!)
- Big shiny hummers cruising the streets of Ulaanbaatar, and enough Toyota Landcruisers to rival an Australian caravan park.
- No lines on the roads. “Cool” said Tintin ‘ You can drive where ever you want’ And indeed, that’s just what they do. Here’s the road to our guesthouse.
- Mongolian beer $1 a 500ml can with 2% more alcohol than that watery Chinese stuff!
- Mongolian rappers on every restaurant TV. Here we happened upon the filming of the Mongolian Idol finalists.
- A punch up between two drunk guys at the train station.
- A massive open cut coal mine.
- Plenty of cheap meat, but we don’t know how to buy it.
- A pile of skinned sheep heads in the butcher window, they were kind of….grey.
- A pristinely white husky dog and a wolf going for a walk on leashes.
…and in our room, a shower, with doors! and a floor! and a shower rose NOT over the loo. In fact, the hole bathroom looked rather European. Bliss.
We have 29 days here. So far it’s beautiful, the air is crisp and clean, people don’t stare at us like they did in China. We are really looking forward to experiencing Mongolia! First stop – Terelj National Park.
(We’ve written a bit about our first impressions of countries, like this post about Vietnam. I think we’re getting used to this border crossing business! I’ve noticed if I don’t record things that are new and different, I forget that they were once new and different. You know, like, oh yeah, sheep heads, been there done that….)