125.16 km, alt: 1245 metre, near Bayanhangay 48°105°25’
Tonight we were visited by two herder boys on holiday from Ulaanbator. Both wore black leather boots, purple and green tunics tied together with saffron coloured sashs. The younger boy wore a Bolivian style hat and in appearance was very South American. Their horses were quite small compared to an Australian Brumby and when they became agitated these boys skilfully controlled their animals. At no stage did they release their grip upon their leads and later we found it quite common for herdsmen to wrap it around the front limbs, which made the animals impassive.
Our harmony was soon changed by the sight of a young man on a Russian “HHH” motorbike weaving his way uphill toward us with agonising groans. He was very boisterous and immediately begun to ride Michael’s Cannondale bicycle. He laughed at our tent when I called it a “Ger “ and bellyached when he noted that our tent was facing the cold north wind. The Mongolian tradition is to always face the open door toward the South, which maximises the light and warmth.
The day has been spending time with pleasant local people who are keen to assist the traveller. The food in the roadhouses or “guanz” has been nourishing. Our goulash today was freshly made on the spot with cabbages, cucumber, chilli, rice and doe. The four year old girl served the food and our time was spent having her teach me how to count to five, a skill that I immediately forgot. The houses are brightly painted, with wide slatted fencing and the traditional Ger just behind.