Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The biggest Ger in the world ...?

Our time in the Gobi brought us some interesting new experiences.

On the second day of our trip we dropped by the local monastery during morning prayers, before calling in on the Chief Lama in his luxurious Ger. Suprisingly we found him surfing the net on a Dell laptop ... quite the contrast with the previous evenings dung-fuelled experience.

The have what they claim is the biggest Ger in the world .. you can see a quick video of the interior here. I subsequently came across at least 2 similar claims - but who am I to question the integrity of the next Grand Lama of Mongolia?

The next few days saw us progressing hundreds of kilometers into the Gobi region via the cliffs of Tsuran Suvarga, before reaching the spectacular Yolyn Am a gorge that remains filled with ice all year round. After camping for the night, we attempted the more adventurous route out through Dugany Am, a valley which lonely planet decribes as "impassable" until July - well not if you tackle it like this ...

After a lunch of Camel crispy fried pancakes, we made it to Khongorin Els sand dunes where we stayed with a local family. After a very cold night in the Ger we got up good and early for the difficult climb to the top. We were glad we did, as when we got up there the windspeed started building - sending plumes of sand high into the air. We made it back down literally sandblasted and covered in tiny scratches. 2 hours later back in the Ger we were sitting out a vicious sandstorm - you can see the video here.

At last, at about 8pm the storm subsided to give us a truly great sunset to conclude the Gobi leg of our trip in style ...