The Gobi – Day One

At 9am on Saturday morning we met with Inga (our translator and cook) and Dawaa (our driver and guide) to begin our eight day adventure into the Gobi. Our bags were packed into the old Russian Furgon, a four-wheel drive vehicle that ended up taking us on some serious off-road adventures.

The excitement began as soon as we left the city, we nearly t-boned a car that turned in front of us – I’m not sure what the driver was thinking, he should have seen us coming! Needless to say, Dawaa swerved out of the way (the tires on our van came off the road) and we continued on our way. We quickly learned to trust Dawaa and his driving skills, he was amazing.

The pavement quickly ended and we headed off-road. After driving for a couple of hours we came upon a man who was standing by himself, miles away from anything. He had no vehicle, no horse… nothing. We stopped to see if he was okay. It turned out that he had been out hunting with his friends the day before and somehow got separated (perhaps his friends left him…?). He had spent the night in the cold, barren land and was looking for a way back into the city. Though we were headed in the opposite direction we gave him some water, and some chocolate and wished him luck. We continued on our journey.

Lunch break

We stopped for lunch under a small mountain.

Our first real off road experience happened as we drove across a stream, I was certain we were going to tip and fall into the ice-cold water! Luckily we survived and I began to trust Dawaa’s driving skills even more.

Mongolian landscape

That night we had our first ger experience. At the end of a long day of driving, with nothing in sight but a couple of gers we stopped and asked if it would be possible to spend the night with the family living there.

Ger at sunset

We were welcomed with open arms by the family despite the small space, and the fact that there were eight of us to add to their family of five. We broke the ice by playing cards with the seven year old daughter. When her father arrived home he showed us some magic tricks and shared the vodka that we had given the family. We were offered snuff and shared laughs. We cuddled with the two month old and met the grandparents who lived in the ger next door. I used the most amazingly beautiful toilet in the world (just find a spot under the night sky, those stars were unbelievable… wow…. just wow…)

It was truly an amazing experience, connecting with people who don’t share the same language. People who live so far from “civilization”, yet finding common ground, and creating a type of community. This experience is why I love to travel.

Fun in the ger

That first night in the ger is a memory that will stay with me for a long time.
It was a truly magical night.

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~ by dawseng on November 9, 2008.

2 Responses to “The Gobi – Day One”

  1. Love hearing about your adventure in the Gobi. Keep the posts and pictures coming. Miss you both very much!

  2. I love these glimpses into your Mongolian life. It sounds like an amazing start to the gobi adventure! I love that you stayed with a ‘strange’ family, shared life in their home and became less of strangers. I can just hear the laughter …

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