JUNE 26, 2009: FRIDAY


We lazed around camp through the morning. We went for a hike up a nearby mountain to get one last look at the amazing landscape of Mongolia. We were to board a Sherman for Ulaanbaatar after lunch and we were beginning to realize that our adventure was quickly coming to an end.

At 2pm we piled in the Sherman for what would be our last chance to be "Sherminated" (shaken) in the Russian vans we had grown to love so much. They are slow and lumbering, noisy, and smell of gas; Yet they are practical in this landscape and in all of my travels, I never saw one stuck. Sure, they ran out of gas many times, but with only a stick to push into the gas tank to "feel" how much gas is left, this is bound to happen. Anyway, it added to the adventure.

We worked our way back into the sprawling city of UB, jockeying for road space with all the other insane drivers and finally made it safely back to the Michelle Hotel (which had become a second home for me).

For dinner we set out to find a world renowned Indian restaurant and after getting side tracked at the Cashmere shops (Mongolia is the Cashmere capital of the world! Oh...which reminds me, the goat we ate several days back at the Pallas Cat Camp, that was a "Cashmere" goat! Whoda thought Cashmere tasted so good!) As we followed our Lonely Planet map we began to notice police on every corner, soon we realized that there was a wrestling match at the Wrestling Palace and that they bring extra security for these events. Wrestling is one of Mongolia's "National Sports" along with archery and horse racing). We could compare this wrestling event to a soccer (football) event anywhere else in the world; Excited and rowdy fans, crazed over their favorite wrestler! Oh, and the food at the Indian restaurant? There is a reason it is world famous...nom, nom, nom!
Cashmere Goat of Mongolia

6am tomorrow, we will be on the first leg of our journey back home...

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