Second day of the Naadam festival was the traditional horse racing. As i”ve mentioned in my previous post, we booked this tour with Chez Bernard.
The call time was at around 7am at the Chez Bernard cafe. Breakfast was included in the packaged tour so everybody was expected to have breakfast at the cafe before heading off to the race track. We arrived a bit late because we preferred to have our breakfast in our hotel. If I still remember it correctly, it was more or less an hour drive from the city. On our way to the race track, our tour guide gave us some information about the horse racing tradition and also advised us be careful and to stay away from the big crowd after each race as the locals would run towards the winning horse to touch it. They have this belief that the sweat of the winning animal will give them good fortune all year round. Once we got off the bus, I was like.. “where’s the race track?” All I could see was a sea of people; thousands of people, Mongolians and tourists /travelers from different parts of the world. Well, I guess it was a bit ambitious to expect a proper race track in that part of Mongolia.
The locals were dressed as if they’re going to a party, ladies were wearing high heels.. i don’t think high heels and grass work well together. There are also a lot of food stalls around but the only thing I could buy was a can of coca cola, just didn’t want to have an upset stomach again.
Lunch was part of the package, it was said to be a barbecue lunch. We camped a few hundred meters away from the big crowd and everybody waited for our lunch. When the lunch came, X and I were like… “I’m starving but I cannot eat that meat”. They said it was beef ribs barbecue but it didn’t look like barbecue to me. It looked like boiled beef with potatoes, and the smell was horrible, I really couldn’t eat that meat unless I havent eaten for weeks. I was really surprised to see everybody enjoying the “barbecue” but X and I just had a few slices of potatoes and a can of soda. When we returned to UB, we ran off to our favorite French bistro once we got off the bus to have a proper meal.
Our lunch didnt look and smell appealing at all. 🙂