Mongolia is amazing! I feel like I’m an American ambassador for this country, sharing my stories and letting others know how much I love it here!! The city is good for the amenities- for $7.00/night, I checked in to a hostel for a hot shower and to get some laundry done before I headed north. I didn’t know what awaited me and you can’t beat that deal!! I said goodbye to my first host and got ready for the next leg of my journey. It began at the Dragon Bus Station in UB where my temporary Asian child saga continues. I somehow got next to a 9 year old traveling alone, on a 16 hour bus ride, to Moren. Her mom brought her to the bus and maybe she thought I looked responsible/friendly/motherly, I don’t know, but I signaled to the mom I would watch the girl and that I did. She was the cutest thing and we played charades, games, looked at snpachat, and tried to talk a bit by using my phrase book. We stopped for dinner and I bought her a meal, and then she bought herself an ice cream. Good thing I always have wet wipes here because 9 year olds are messy! Sleeping was tough and I wanted her to be as comfortable as possible, so I basically pulled another all nighter and was pretty wiped, but excited as always, when we got to Moren. The little girl’s grandmother came to get her. It was actually kind of sad to watch her walk away. That 16 hour bus ride really made me think a lot about kids… (And how I don’t have any…)
From Moren I traveled another 60 miles north to Khatghal. I met my new hosts and we all piled into the car. I had no idea what was going on. We traveled along a gravel road for over an hour. But then, I realized what was happening. My host, Bayra, said we were going to their other house, closer to Khovsgal Lake. We came around the corner and there it was! The beautiful lake I’d been waiting to see. I got my own ger and had a few tasks, and my days there would prove to be rewarding, eventful, and busy.
I went for a walk and kept following the blue. It seemed the more I went, the more beautiful the scenery became, so I couldn’t turn around. Then I heard someone calling to me in English. They invited me to join and before I knew it, I’d made more new friends and had a dinner invite, but not before I had boiled sheep EVERYTHING with my hosts and their neighbors. Yup, I did it and tried almost everything, it wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated, either! I didn’t have many tasks that first day as a workawayer and returned to visit the group camping along the lake. We played volleyball and they introduced me to some legit Mongolian BBQ. These people are champs, they can eat meat like nobody’s business! They had everything to share, including alcohol, which I hadn’t had in a while. Suffice it to say I had a great night- what I remember of it anyway, and one of those things was taking a refreshing dip in the lake along with the Korean couple I met!