Sunday, November 15, 2009

Zie ginds komt de stoomboot

4 November 2009

The next day we started by going to a museum of Mongolian history, Boogii raced us through it, because our day was fully packed again. Outside the bus was waiting for us, and off we were to the countryside to spend a night with the locals in a Ger camp. I was glad to be getting out of the city, the pollution was taking a toll on my lungs.

Driving out to the countryside we passed many factories, electricity poles and Ger-camps just outside of the city. The people that live here work in the city and commute every day from their Ger to the concrete buildings in the center of town. Boogii was telling me the day before that the industrializtion and kapitalism came so fast in UB, everything has been built in high speed, which definitly shows. Everything is kind of Shabby and falling apart, and with the contrast of the traditional ger camps just outside of the city, you can tell that not everybody is ready yet for this western kind of lifestyle.

Nevertheless, the countryside is beautiful, the skies get clearer and you can spot the real nomad life more and more. The locals ride their horses sheparding there yaks or horses to greener fields. Only 1 hour outside of the city we already reach our Ger-camp. It’s fantastic! Between the hills, looking out over even more hills. The Ger’s are cosy, and VERY warm. There’s a wooden heater in the middle with a chimney through the roof, ours consist of 4 beds, a tabel, 4 chairs and a little wash basin. The door (as in all the ger’s) is facing south. The toilet also faces south and is a little shack with a hole in the ground. It’s clean and doesn’t smell too bad, but i wouldn’t want to be there in the summertime... or tipsy.

After lunch we go horseriding through the hills, which is beautiful, the only thing is I’m not allowed to ride by myself, even if i have years of experince. So i end up ‚riding‘ for over 2 hours with a little 9 year old boy walking in front of me holding the reigns. Apparantly last year someone fell off a horse and couldn’t walk after breaking a leg and sued theses guys. So that’s why nobody is allowed to ride by themselves anymore... I don’t get it, how can you sue them, if you see they have nothing to pay you with!!

Anyway, we go to turtle rock. It’s a big rock... shaped like a turtle. Back at the camp we get ready to visit a local traditional family. The bus takes us to the family, just before we arrive Boogii says: "Oh, because we don’t have any presents to thank the family for their hospitality, you all have to show your talents and sing something from your country...".... WHAT??? I’m not on this trip to sing! I 'd rather give them money! Or is that rude? I have a nice shiny key-chain i can give! Can someone else go for me? I’m the only Dutch person here, I don’t want to sing by myself!... But there was no getting out of it, Boogii was very serious. So i performed which any other person with the knowledge of Dutch folksongs would sing: Zie ginds komt de stoomboot....

I tried to explain the whole concept of Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Pieten, but they didn’t really seem to be listening. The rest of the group had similar acts, and I helped Tyler, who’s from the States, to do MJ's Thriller dance. We all kind of made a fool of ourselves, but the family seemed to like it all, the chilren even did a little performance for us aswell. We also asked the family some questions, the older lady used to be a literature teacher and her husband (who had just passed away) a mathematician at a university. A few years ago they decided to leave their lifestyle and go back to the traditional way of living. This way they could look after the grandchildren, it was the children’s time to go live and work in the city... I’m really glad i didn’t give them a shiny keychain as a present...

1 comment:

  1. Hey Saffie! reading this makes me feel like I'm on a little trip myself :-)
    We are eating pepernoten here and trying to not to get dragged down by the every day rain. Hope you will have fun with Ankie in Vietnam & enjoy the warm blanket!!

    hugs Fransje.