Six students from the University of Pittsburgh Honors College trek across Mongolia in search of illumination, perspective, and the perfect cup of Yak-milk tea.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Liz is my dancing queen

After a well intended but probably bad idea of staying up all night friday to see Jon off to the airport, Mike, Liz, Patrick (random british guy) and I took the train north to Darkhan. While Lonely Plant announces there is little reason to visit this, the second largest of Mongolian cities, we were quite happy to be out of ulaan battar. Our goal was to visit the second largest monestary in Monolia. The russians destroyed alot of the monestaries in the 1930's, and while this one was attacked, only 10 of the 30 buildings were destroyed. Usually tourists are only allowed to see the outside of the buildings, but as luck would have it, we bumped into the peace corps training group, who had obtained special permission to enter alot of the locked buildings, and take pictures, which is pretty much unheard of. After exploring the temple, which is a mix of chinese and tibetan influences, we hike to the hills behind the complex and were able to see an excellent view of the lay out.
Walking back into the exceptionally small community that surrounds the temple Mike was able to try his first tastes of airag (fermented mare's milk), forturnaltly i've already had that experence a couple of times and felt no need to repeat myself.
In the city we stayed in a very nice hotel owned by the family of Patrick's boss. I had the delight of sleeping on a comphy sofa that was tasefully covered in two inch white shag...it was clean but a bit like cuddeling with a polar bear :) We had better food than you can get in Ulaan Battar and stocked up for the ride back to the city. We took the over night train back and arived at six this morning. I'm well rested, but everyone else had to go to work :) I think that's about it. We are trying to go to the Gobi this weekend before my next project starts. I"ll let you know how that goes~