We’re now deep in the Gobi dessert. Each camp has been progressively remote – I think we’re now as remote as it gets. It’s hot, windy and we’ve just had a four course lunch consisting of:
· Cucumber and tomato salad – vegetables most likely from China
· Hot mutton and vegetable soup- with potatoes, carrots and seaweed (yes, this is a landlocked country)
· Spaghetti bolognaise, with the meat sauce made from horse (“Mongolia does Italian” as Elle quipped)
· A wafer chocolate bar from Turkey
I need a lie down….
Our ger is again, very comfortable, but hot but smells strongly of sheep. They all do as the walls and roof are all filled with sheep wool felt and I suspect this one is pretty raw as it's particularly sheepy.
On meat, we’re learnt that labelling here is fairly general. So mutton could be sheep, or it could be goat – it’s all ‘mutton’. Same with beef – it could be cow or it could be yak. In fact, we also leant that cattle and yaks can breed and that their offspring can also breed so some animals may be part cow, part yak and as far as the Mongolian’s are concerned, it’s all ‘beef’.
As we’ve travelled into and through the desert in our Soviet built military vehicle (no air conditioning) we’ve seen herds of goats (“Hi kids!”), sheep, horses, camels, cows and yaks, as well as ground squirrels and rabbits with very long ears. Most of the animals have lost their winter coat but we did come across one camel that was still very hairy.
As complete aside, if you needed more proof that Australia has outrageously expensive telco, Geoff got a message on his phone from Telstra to say it would be $5 for 3 minutes if he makes a call here. I bought the girls and me local SIM cards with a 15 day package including some calls and unlimited data – for $5.50 each.
This is the first camp we’ve been to that doesn’t have phone reception/internet. In fact, this one doesn’t even have electricity. They run the generator for a couple of house in the evening and that’s it. Geoff’s testing out his portable solar charger.
It does have beer – which they store in a cellar to keep it cool. It’s not cold but it still does the trick.