Way back in June 2005 I posted a entry to Thomo’s Hole called Dancing Trees and Pretty Girls. This was a post as a result of having been out to Dugan Khad, and at the time, I got the directions all screwed up. This post is to correct some of the errors from that original post.
Dugan Khad is actually in Bornuur soum (a soum is like a country town and the area around it). Bornuur is in Tuv aimag (province). Ulaanbaatar is a special area inside Tuv as well. Dugan Khad is about 108 kilometres north of Ulaanbaatar and is one of the “special areas” in Mongolia. I guess that is the equivalent of our national parks.
Dugan Khad is actually named after a rock called Dugan. The rock is an interesting structure and is on a branch of the Khentei Mountain range. The rock is like a temple.
The area is covered in pine trees, birch, cedar, cherry and so on – which is why my post about this area referred to Dancing Trees. It was the first time I went somewhere in Mongolia where there were many trees.
There is a hotel complex there and so the traveller can stay a couple of days, enjoying nature – or just get a hot tea and some buuz and just relax on a day trip.
It is well worth visiting if you are in Mongolia. Unfortunately, when I was there I did not have my camera with me so only had some pretty average telephone pictures of the area. I shall certainly go back there one day.
Puujee (father of my favourite Mongolian family) noted to me that he thought the reason that the truck driver had attempted to cross the Tuul gol (Tuul River) there rather than using that rickety bridge was not for fear of the bridge falling, but rather a desire to get to the other side of the Tuul gol as quickly as possible to sit and drink vodka. So, as you can see, we have some heavy machinery to move the truck and at the same time, the foreman is there as well, supervising the process.
In the meantime, folks are still fishing from the bridge.
We had gone here once before. Unfortunately, the first time we came here, I did not have my digital camera with me. We were trying to decide where to go last Sunday and my favourite Mongolian family suggested coming back to here as I had mentioned wanting to photgraph the bridge. They also noted that as summer was rapidly departing, it would be better to do it now whilst the weather was still OK.
So, we went out there again and I managed to get stung by nettles (Khalgai) – as well as getting terribly drunk on vodka. Must suggest to famly that vodka is perhaps not the best drink for Thomo on picnics.
There is a picture of the bridge with this blog. Yes, it looks that dilapidated in real life. We have driven across the bridge twice and I have walked over it now – it is as rickety as it looks and the whole bridge shakes and wobbles when vehicles drive over it.
I will do a separate website, perhaps elsewhere in Thomo’s Hole Proper, devoted to the bridges of Mongolia. Having seen a couple now I shall keep photographing them.
There I was, in shorts and thongs (flip flops for the English). Taking photographs of the bridge over the Tuul gol (Tuul River) outside of Ulaanbaatar when as chance would have it, I stepped through a small plant. Hmm, thinks Thomo, there is something hot and itchy on my left leg. I naturally then rubbed the left leg with the right leg. Damn, hot and itchy on both legs now. I photographed the plant, photographed the bridge and then came back to the car. I showed my favourite Mongolian Family the picture of the plant on the digital camera and they all laughed. Thomo had stumbled through a patch of stinging nettles. In Mongolian, these are called khalgai (thank you for that name Alimaa).
I can report, however, that standing in the cold, fast moving waters of the Tuul gol relieved the stinging feeling from my legs. Er, the beer helped as well 😉
Bayankhangai, Mongolia. A couple of weeks ago I went to the area of Bayankhangai, near to Ulaanbaatar with my favourite Mongolian family. One of the family members had been watching the television advertisements on Mongolian TV and liked the look of a tourist park that was there. The tourist park was in a nice area, although not so exciting of and by itself. It did have one claim to fame however. An eagle.
The only trouble with the poor eagle was that it appeared as though both of its wings were useless. I do not know if this was from an accident or the result of a deliberate act, however, the bottom line was that the eagle was unable to fly at all. All it could do was walk and run. I must admit, it appeared to get along at a fair clip on the ground – and it was still supporting the rather extensive beak as well as some very nasty looking talons.
The bird seemed well fed and allowing for the fact that it was an eagle that could no longer soar, it appeared to be in reasonable health.
The tourist park that the eagle was in was about 30 minutes drive or so from downtown Ulaanbaatar.
Well, more just dancing trees. I went into the woods today to the west of Ulaanbaatar, out in the countryside. My favourite Mongolian family took me for a drive again (we had done this the week before but in another direction). Where we ended up today was in a pine forest on the side of a hill with a large rock formation in it – Dhugan something or other. Hopefully one of my friends will see this and give me the full name. Added Later: They did, the place was Dugan Khad – trees, hills and some really pretty rocks. So, after eating salami and cheese on black bread, washed down with a Mongolian Mutton Soup and warm beer, I lay on my back to watch the trees move in the wind. With your head near the trunks it is wonderful watching them sway to the breeze.
“The trees are dancing”, I told my Mongolian hosts. “See – she is swirling her hips trying to attract him”. I then noted that “He is not a good dancer though. Look at how stiff his movement is … and there, next to him, his girlfriend – she is jealous and her branches are locked to him and trying to hold him back!”
It was at that point that I passed a memory for my old mate Bob, I could see him laying and watching the trees dance. Try it sometime, watch the trees dance in the wind.