Hiking around Ulaanbaatar.

Our visa situation is still moving in the right direction.  We are waiting for a representative from our new sponsor to deliver a letter of request to Immigration together with a copy of the required certificate, and a couple of other documents.  We are hoping to have more information later this week.

The frustrating part is standing still.  We have started work tentatively on this project but we are reluctant to move forward until we know for sure we can stay.

We are still in regular contact with CuChullaine of The Long Rider’s Guild gathering his thoughts, ideas and information on Colic in horses.  So far we have written a research proposal, gathered a list of questions in preparation for designing our research questionnaires and discussed the methods we will use to gather information.  We are going to visit bookshops on the way to school today to see what is available on horses.  The aim being to find the right book to help with our study of Mongolian horse terms.

Tim and I still have to plot our route and apply for permission to access the areas we wish to travel through, fly our kit in as well as get it through customs and buy and train horses.  Oh well, life continues so this weekend we hiked up a hill south of Ulaanbaatar, taking us through the Bodgkhan Uul Strictly Protected Area.  As always when we walk together we brain storm a lot, so this weekend gave us a chance to add to our ideas on researching Colic in Mongolia for The Long Rider’s Guild Academy Foundation.

The walk started when we traveled south to the edge of town, the road ran out and the only option for continuing south was to go up.  We passed a number of Ovoo’s (shamanistic cairns made from rocks), a couple of Mongolian guys who were walking down and a group of young men who had a generator that they were using with a pneumatic drill to dig for….who knows.

After an hour we decided to have a rest.  We noticed three Mongolian men walking up the hill we were resting on top of.  Suddenly one of the men bellowed an aggressive call.  Not really wanting to test out our Krav skills we quickly packed up and started moving further up the hill.  The men were quite low down and were climbing up a really steep part so we had an advantage.

The main issue was my asthma.  Due to the dry, dusty atmosphere my lungs had trouble working properly.  Tim and I pushed on quickly, with me wheezing away.  Thankfully we got to the top of the mountain and moved fast over more even ground.  We didn’t see the men again and after another 40 minutes we entered a forest moving south, west towards the summit.

The walk was lovely.  We had clear, blue skies, a slight breeze and saw no-one else for another hour or so.  The only wildlife we saw were squirrels.  They are different to the UK squirrels, in that they look like a red squirrel, with long fluffy ears, but are charcoal in colour and bigger.  We reached a clearing that had picnic benches, seats and a BBQ area.

Tim and I descended east through more forest and began the long trek home, where we passed lots of Mongolians who were out for a walk.  The done thing to say to other walkers is “сайн байцrаана уу? сайхан яваж байна уу?” This translates as “Are you well (to more than one person)? Are you having a nice walk?”

We got a few surprised looks when people saw a гадаад хүн (foreigner) speaking these words.

We ended up at the Bodg Khan Resort; apparently a combination ger camp and nightclub where we hit the road and walked the few kilometers home.

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