What it’s like to road trip through Mongolia
A woman in her 50s, wearing a soft purple gown, her hair tied up in a spotty scarf crouches next to me and pulls on one of the goats teats. Milk screeches into the bucket with each pull, splattering and diving again and again. She instructs me to try, and tentatively, I take the flesh in my hand and begin making the same action as she does. It creates mere droplets of milk and now it’s her shrieking with laughter at my pathetic attempt to milk a goat. I leave her to the job, I’m clearly not a natural goat milker.
Sometimes travel surprises you in the most wonderful ways. I’d never have expected to find myself in the steppes of central Mongolia, a few days drive from any sign of modern civilisation, learning how to milk a goat. But life takes these funny turns, and here I am in a country that seems so removed from the rest of the world, living in Gers(yurts) and road tripping south to the Gobi Desert with a group of strangers who eventually became friends
It all started a few days earlier, after I touched down on Mongolian soil in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. Unlike the Asian cities I was used to, Ulaanbaatar felt like an overgrown village. The streets were wide and quiet, dotted with cafes and communist style architecture. Up at the Zaisen memorial on a hill above the city, I spotted Gercamps on the edges of the city, fragmenting as they faded into the emerald hills behind.
In the few days I spent in Ulaanbaatar, I came to really enjoy the city with its beautiful temples, intriguing markets and quirky vegan cafes. But I knew that the real Mongolia lay outside of this city, in the deserts and mountains and wide open expanses of steppes. I was heading next towards those hills, to see what this country was all about.
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