Most of us have travelling experiences that we will always remember for as long as we can. They could be funny, romantic, embarrassing, heartwarming etc.
So here is the list of my best, worst and somewhere in between experiences… in no particular order.
Getting lost in Gobi desert and spending the night with the locals in their tent. It was definitely one of the best. I was really surprised by how generous they were, I mean inviting total strangers in someone’s home is not something we see everyday.
First camel, not to mention Bactrian, ride in Gobi.
Having diarrhoea on the day of my flight and taking medicines with labels that look like boxes, lines and circles 🙂
The sunny-side-of-life birthday celebration! Definitely the best. I wish I could go back to Maldives
The city tour bus ride in Bangkok
Valentine’s day and Vietnamese new year in Hanoi.
Having rashes all over my body while travelling in Mongolia
Eating sausage and crepe in the streets of Bangkok. That was my first taste of street food while travelling. I have a very sensitive stomach that’s why I stay away from street food and those that my system is not used to
Swimming with the whale sharks in Cebu
Trekking in Batad and caving in Sagada. Both were my firsts
So that’s my list. maybe I can still update it next time.
Things have been really crazy these past few weeks; day job, part-time job, new [small] business venture, new hobbies etc. I used to wish for some more interesting stuff to do on top of my full-time day job, and now that I got them I feel like I’m really exhausted already. I like what I’m doing, it’s just that I’m overdoing it I think. Good thing I’m off to the beach tomorrow for a post birthday celebration, and of course bonding time with a bunch of good friends.
Early this year, I finally decided to start writing my travel memoir in a form of a coffee table book and I planned to finish it before the year ends. Unfortunately, there were so many distractions along the way and I decided to take a break. Well, I hope I can start working on it again by January.
Here are the sample photos that will appear on the book under Mongolia section.
It was such a long and tiring road(less) trip to Gobi desert. We decided to have a quick stop over after traveling (from UB) for about four hours. The Mongolian countryside looks amazing under the bluest sky, with all those green pea-like plants and wild animals all over the place.
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. 🙂
The Naadam festival in Mongolia is a yearly event celebrated in July. This is one great event that every single person in Mongolia looks forward to and definitely one big tourist attraction in the country.
I was able to witness this event two years ago along with hundreds of tourists and travelers. Many tour operators in Ulaanbaatar sell packaged tour of the said festival. We bought a two-day package which includes a guided tour to the Stadium to watch the opening ceremony, wrestling and archery matches, lunch for 2 days, horse racing (2nd day) and transportation. On the opening day the plan was to walk to the stadium from the Sukhbaatar square but I really didn’t want to walk, walking is one thing that I’m not fond of. Fortunately, there was one tourist who arrived at the assembly place about 30 minutes late, so our tour guide decided to take a taxi to the stadium and that was a big relief. We had an english speaking guide and she was really nice and friendly. We even had a little conversation and I learned that she was a post graduate student and been to New York and South Korea to study. I also learned that a lot of students in Mongolia, the ones who can speak the english language properly [if not fluently] do tour guiding job during summer breaks.This is also their way of practicing and learning the language.
The opening day’s events include the colorful opening ceremony, speech by the president and of course we didnt have a slightest clue what he was saying, wrestling and archery matches. I was really surprised to see how Mongolians dressed up for the event. A lot of women were in evening dress and high heels while the older ones were wearing the traditional Mongolian costume and the crowd was in a very festive mood.
After the opening ceremony, we headed to another stadium to witness the archery match. It was a smaller stadium and getting in was a great deal of effort as there were too many people all wanting to see the match. I must admit I didn’t enjoy it that much. Well, as the saying goes, when in Rome. I took a few photos and after about 15 minutes we decided to leave and headed to the park where our packed lunch would be served. I caught a really interesting sight inside the stadium, while everyone was busy watching archery, and couldn’t resist capturing it.