I don’t mean to do any product placement here, but this story needs to be told. After getting stomach sick and a fever on the countryside (took me two and a half days only! – I guess my spoiled Western stomach is used to different amounts or stems of bacteria in water and food), I had to cancel the whole plan of working for two weeks on the farm. I took the bus to the city but could not find anyone speaking English to tell me where to get off. Lost and with a fever and heavy bags I stumbled around trying to find some place to crash. Some angel appeared on the street who took me in a taxi to some hotel and visited me in the evening to check up on me, bringing me this bar of chocolate. Speechless.Thank you Purevdorj, you’re my hero!
Rolling hills, green grass, wild horses, cows and goats, lakes and rivers, gers. Mongolian hospitality, sheep intestines and organs, freshly milked milk, self-stirred joghurt, all sorts of Mongolian milk products, vodka with blessings, sleeping in the ger. Thanks to our hosts. What an introduction to this country.
After an adventurous trip with George the taxi driver, I finally arrived on the farm. Tuk, one of the younger children of my future boss, smilingly opened the gate and welcomed me in fluent English. His response to my surprise was simply: Of course I speak English, next to four other languages! (he was aged 10) On entering the main building, the next surprise awaited me: it consisted of one room only which served as living, dining and bed room for the whole family (the parents, their 6 children, and the grandmother = 9 persons). After getting acquainted with everyone (or trying to, 9 Mongolian names in a row are really impossible to pronounce or remember unless they resemble somehow known sounds – fortunately, Ariuka, one of the oldest boys who were twins and both 15 years old, later wrote down all names for me). My boss said immediately: Katya, you are a lucky lady, we are driving to the countryside today and will take you with us! Are you ready? – … Sure!
When the train arrived in Ulaanbaatar and spit out its flocks of international tourists and travellers (which was actually nice for once to share a berth and travel stories with three people from different countries) it was early morning. The sun had just gotten up like us, and before we knew where we were there was a gaggle of taxi drivers and hostel pick-uppers surrounding us. The first thought I had was: I gotta get outta here! So I called my host/boss on the farm who told me to grab a cab to get to his place. So I did (umm, after some serious haggling and running away from greedy goldtoothed drivers)… well, and that’s when the whole adventure of unexpected events in Mongolia started…