11 July 2006

MONGOLIA day19 July11 2006 Oroohyn ^

74.54 km, 2105 metres:

Today has been a perfect day. The first delight being a fast descent into Jargalant. The wooden bridge into the town had the appearance of a structure that had been buckled, as if having sustained the effects of an earthquake. It was bent both upward and side ways and I do wonder how many trucks obeyed the 5 tonnes advisory signs. It looked very solid and intricately engineered. Here we enjoyed a meal of Tsuivan and salty tea in a Guanz set up within a Ger but in close proximity to other wooden buildings. As with all Mongolians the concept of time is irrelevant, the meal was cooking for an inordinate amount of time on a large wok designed to fit with perfection upon the stove - curry was added and the onions cut delicately with mindfulness. Upon approaching the small outpost of Toyn we found the road blocked by half a dozen locals wielding sticks and metal pipes, who then forced us to stop. They ranged from six to twelve years old and we had no choice but to drink tea and eat cheese. This valley is picture perfect and the greenness of the pasture has produced a variety similar to Swiss Jarlsberg. Upon leaving, the children hung onto the bikes and tried to jump upon our luggage racks and pull us backward. It took half an hour to escape their grasp, finally spinning down the clay track, downhill at full speed. The whole day was one of children or young horse riders eagerly inviting us to their homes, which we declined. Every visit would have been at least a half hour and we wanted to camp early, so our only choice was to continue onward. The Toyn Valley is a most pretty place with gers and wooden buildings near to stony creeks and the pine forest forming a charming backdrop. Our road lies above the floor of the dale giving us broad views of verdant pastures.