As my Gobi Desert tour progressed pass the half way point, we began leapfrogging north towards Ulannbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. Driving back a new route we had a chance to stop in some new towns and at some new roadside cafes. At one cafe, we sat with the grandfather of the house and chatted about our travels. He was surrounded by his 4 granddaughters and 3 of his grandsons played outside. He offered me the snuff bottle that I wrote about in a previous bottle; by tradition, I accepted the bottle, sniffed it, and then handed it back. I suppose sharing the fragrant smell with a visitor is a way of showing that they are welcome. The perfume in the bottle smelled much like the fragrance that is poured on guests hands in the middle east; I can only wonder if this tradition spread during the days of the silk trade a thousand years and more ago.
As we drove north I watched hour by hour as the landscape changed from brown sand to scattered patches of snow until finally the ground was completely white. It really put into perspective how long the drive was that we could actually watch the weather change as we drove north.
After I had posted this entry I realized that I had shot a short video of the children (top photo) at this road-side rest stop. The kids were very cute and seemed to be quite curious about the “foreigner”.
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