driving north into the snow

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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Shipwreck Rock

Just near the Flaming Cliffs stands Shipwreck Rock.  Nearby we found an overlooking ridge and I asked Simya to take my photo.  After a dozen attempts, he just could not get it right.  So, I took a few shots and on the 3rd attempt I captured the above photo.  As we drove closer we crested a small bluff and I asked him to stop the truck because I thought that it would make a great photo (below).  I was very happy that we decided to visit the Flaming Cliffs and Shipwreck Rock in the morning as the rising sun really accented the red color of the rocks.


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The Flaming Cliffs

When we drove in to Bayanzak the evening before, Soyoloo asked me if I wanted to see the Flaming Cliffs.  But, the sun was setting behind them and they were hard to see in the darkened glare.  I decided instead that we should get up early and look at them in the rising sun.  In this way, the light would be hitting them directly providing plenty of light and, the sun would still be in its horizon red color.  I thought that this would put the cliffs in their best light.  We were not disappointed.

As we approached the cliffs, the wind was blowing so hard that we had to lean over so that we were not blown off the cliffs.  The battery in my camera chilled so quickly that it showed only 3 or 4 minutes of usable power even though it had a near full charge.

I tried to shoot as many photos as I could before my fingers froze.  The wind chill made it difficult to work the buttons on my camera; it really was a cold morning.  As I shivered in the cold, I watched as Soyoloo performed the rituals of a pious Buddhist.  He walked the Ovoo as prescribed by his religion.  He didn’t seem to mind the cold and I watched silently as he performed his rituals.  I had a good look around trying to soak in the beauty of the place.  The wind and cold were distracting but they added an eerie almost somber mood to the morning.  It was an experience I’ll never forget.


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Stories, posts, reports, photos, videos and all other content on this site is copyright protected © and is the property of Scott Traveler unless otherwise indicated, all rights reserved. Content on this site may not be reproduced without permission from Scott Traveler. My contact information can be found on the home page.

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