July 2008… I will never forget that Mongolian holiday that my boyfriend Richard and I had for his birthday. I flew from Manila to Seoul Korea at 12mn then got stuck at Seoul airport for 12 hrs waiting for Richard and for our connecting flight to Ulaanbaatar. Ulaanbaatar was in the state of emergency that time so it made our trip more exciting.
We stayed in UB for 2 days then headed to the mighty Gobi desert. Flights to Dalanzadgad were fully booked as it was Naadam festival. We tried booking the flights 2 weeks before the trip but there was no luck so we opted for an overland trip from UB to Gobi on a 4×4, just us and the driver. I guess the 14 hr overland travel and getting lost in Gobi desert (about 10 times) is not the usual holiday experience you hear everyday. The worst part was spending the night with complete strangers in a tent in the middle of nowhere on a windy night with the sound of crying goats and camels, desert sand on my face, and waking up the following morning with rashes all over my body. We had to spend the night with a mongolian family in their tent as we couldnt find the way to our camp and it was 11pm, in the middle of the desert without any sign of a single road, no spare tires and with a driver who’s a complete idiot. The following day was still another adventure as the driver still couldnt find the way to the camp and it took us nearly 4 hours to get there. We were like running in circles in the middle of Gobi, GPS was not useful as there were no proper roads, before you know it, you’re already on the opposite direction. We just forced ourselves to be a little more patient and enjoy the scenery instead until we got to the camp, the Three Camel Lodge, the most luxurious accommodation in Gobi desert that time.
I wish I could see that family again so I could thank them properly for the hospitality they showed us. They even offered us boiled goat’s milk and mongolian tea, we tried to sip a bit as we didnt want them to feel offended. I was really amazed by their nomadic life. Small ger in the middle of the desert, a small solar panel just enough to power a small tv and 2 light bulbs, simple food that (mostly dried goat’s meat). Never had the chance to take some photos with them especially with the children as I was not feeling well that morning and all I wanted was to get to the camp to get some rest, a nice shower and of course hot meal. Whenever I look at the photos, I cant help but smile.. my one great adventure that I’m sure most people havent had before.