09 July 2006

MONGOLIA day-17 July 9th 2006 TEEL ^

July 9th 2006 71.21km
Today has been a slow hard day against cold winds and weaving our way along the narrow gravel road to Tsagaan Burgas Davaa at an altitude of 2070 metres. It was so steep in parts that our wheels would not gain traction. Just before the summit a horseman lay slumped over the smaller of his two horses. At the uppermost section a Ger Guanz (restaurant) was a relief, as all the previous streams had been dry. Our camp tonight is still at a cold 1713 metres near the tiny settlement of Teel. We are camped on a high grassy saddle, overlooking the Ger camps on a small river. The foot journey took thirty minutes to obtain water which had previously been scarce. From nowhere a 14 year old herder boy began to help us erect our tent and shared hot cocoa with us. Outside it was cold with drizzly rain, yet he sat there and smiled and took an un-obtrusive interest in what we were doing. Later his three friends, from a neighbouring Ger could not understand why we were in the tent. They squatted in the late evening moisture wearing felt boots, jeans and light weight cotton coats, tied with orange
kerchiefs. When I explained in Mongolian: "HUITEN" they began lighting us a horse manure fire, not realising that the inside of the tent was really warm. The next morning our 14 year old arrived on his Chinese bicycle, helped us de-camp and invited us over for salty tea. His sister and brother were still half asleep and were not vexed by our presence. At the end of our short invite I presented the boy with my tiny miniature harmonica as appreciation for his help and joyful company. We then departed to the almost musical tones of his playing.

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