When traveling in developing or underdeveloped countries, you quickly learn to not expect much! Things as common as running water, showers, toilets, laundry, and electricity seem to be luxuries and when you have them, they feel like such a treat! I love picking up my freshly laundered clothes when in Ulaan Baatar and the only reason I don’t do them myself is because I don’t have access to such facilities.
After spending 17 days along a lake in an area without running water, the last place I thought I’d be able to shower was in the Gobi desert. I even brought loads of wet wipes. Much to my surprise, the tourist camp we visited the first night had showers and the best gers I’ve seen yet! After a 9 hour bus ride, a fresh shower seemed like such a treat. Not only that, we had a small vegetable salad with our Mongolian minced mutton meat pancakes, known as khussher, a super popular snack or meal here.
The surprises didn’t end there! Not only are parts of the Gobi Desert beautiful and awe inspiring, we’ve had delicious food (or I was starving), showers at our second ger camp, and cooler weather than expected. I never saw showers like the ones here. It’s in a ger with a concrete floor. There is a container of water outside that leads to a smaller container a over the ger. There is a shower head and when you turn the valve, a low flow of water comes out. ? But it’s water, apparently from a well, and it’s perfect for rinsing off all the dust from the sand dunes. Again, a fresh shower in the desert- what a treat. We’ve had down time to avoid the heat of the day and I even washed my raggedy “Never Give Up” t-shirt. I need to leave that one behind soon. I have way too much stuff as it is and it is thinning and discolored.
We go on a camel ride soon, followed by dinner, and tomorrow, off to the Flaming Cliffs. The Gobi isn’t as dry as expected. There’s green vegetation all over, with camels, cattle, horses, and goat and sheep, as always, all over the place. The dunes in front of us stretch 185 km east to west, are 7 km wide, and the tallest peak is about 5,020 feet above sea level. To hike up, you only climb about 1,000 feet, but it’s steep, and on soft sand, so don’t be fooled- it’s quite a heart rate raising activity.
While I was more than excited to see the Gobi Desert, my visit was met with some great surprises! I’m glad the little things in life can have such a positive impact and I’m excited to be able to say not only did I have a shower amid the sand but I’m positive my feet were exfoliated while playing in the dunes!