Back Home in Ulaanbaatar… with friends…
Riding and staying a while in the northern areas of Mongolia made me fall in love with the area and its people. I fell in love with the landscape and a small and tiny voice deep inside my heart begs me if I can stay longer here… long enough until the autumn will finally come after the passing of summer, so that I can see the leaves turn yellow. Being here also made me want to go further in the north, deeper towards the Siberian plateau to explore the world beyond. But it seems that the visa restriction is really influencing my route and timing. I imagine a world without political borders… and by now I’m already far north… probably witnessing the magical Aurora Borealis again… this time from the sky of Russia. But the country borders, the imaginary lines stopped me from pressing towards the far north.
After reaching Moron to get my bicycle and all my gears, I then took a bus back to Ulaanbaatar. Another 15 hours of a nightmare bumpy bus ride through bad roads, countless river crossings and a drunken guy were sitting right behind me. I arrived Ulaanbaatar early in the morning, when the city just woke up and lit by the light, which traveled for under 10 minutes coming from its source… the sun. The bus driver and his helper were kind enough to help me to get my bike and my entire luggage out of the bus. The curious locals surrounded me while I was assembling my bicycle, very slowly, taking my time, as my fingers moved very slowly due to the cold. Thank god its not as cold anymore now in Ulaanbaatar, the heat of the spring season managed to calm down the frostbiting cold.
I also spent the good weekend together with a few foreign English teachers here to Terelj National Park, which is only about an hour drive from Ulaanbaatar city. We shared the cost and hired a driver to get us there to spend a good quality time in the countryside, stayed a night with a very nice Kazakh family who were impressed that I can speak less than 5 words of Kyrgyz. It was a good trip, since I don’t usually do all these kind of touristy things while Im on my bicycle, like horse riding trip and all.
After a few days staying in the cheap hostel, I moved my stuffs to stay another night back in the ger that I stayed earlier, with Chimedee and her brother Tugh. The smile in their faces have curved the shape of their faces to look much younger than their age. Their hospitality has made me feel like I’m back home with my own family. Everyone greeted me with smiles… except for their chained guard dog that kept barking at me, probably angry at me since I’m traveling around the world freely but he’s chained, limited in one small area.
While staying with them, I then decided to stay a bit longer in Ulaanbaatar until weekend, since the weather was quite bad and they invited me to join them for some hiking on Sunday. So I stayed a while, waited until the bad weather passed and joined the group for hiking somewhere between Ulaanbaatar and Erdenet in the north under the calm weather of Sunday. It was a good hike and I get to know more of my Mongolian brothers and sisters from the group. Only during the last part of the hike, the snow finally fell again… and the wind started to blow wildly. It was in the middle of April and its still snowing and cold in Mongolia. Perhaps the summer will skip this land.
While my stay in Ulaanbaatar, I kept watching the direction of the smoke coming from the nearby plant station, checking the direction of the wind. It seems that the western wind has stopped blowing… and the wind is now coming from the south… from China… bringing to heat and rain to Mongolia… it is now really Spring here. This will really slow me down… the wind is really testing me in Mongolia. It blew hard from the west while I was riding towards the west… now it blows from the south, which will really slowing me down… and I can imagine what lies beyond… something that is waiting for me in the Gobi… the sandstorm of the desert…