Hey all, I continue you on today from the same day as last week as I leave Terelj and head back to Ulaan Baatar in Mongolia. I meet up with a friend of a friend to show me around a bit, and also a friend I had made a couple of years earlier when travelling in Myanmar.
At the point I last left you the dude from the family [family who owned the yurt I stayed in at Terelj] drove up in his Prius to take me the kilometre to the bus stop. All the cars appear new here most right-hand drive, most are Priuses. He’s a Mongolian farmer. The roads out in Terelj aren’t in great condition, imagine in the winter. I guess he’s just very very environmentally friendly!
The bus picked me up along with another three foreigners. There’s a convenience store run a restaurant there along with the horses for hire. Saw one girl fall as they seemed to be trying to ascend turtle rock. The local bus arrived at 11:40 AM. I waited since 11. My guy pushed for to me to be the first on even though there was barely 10 on the bus – all foreigners.
Back at the hostel I chatted with Enkhi, Daniel’s friend. We were to meet at 4:00 PM. I showered and I put all my clothes back from the laundry into the shelves here I got to upload photos to 85 ha good effort for a short time. Enkhi was waiting outside. Enkhi suggested a monastery for us to visit – the Gandan Khiid Monastery so that worked out well I driver seemed a little lost but we got there in the end.
It’s quite beautiful in parts it seems to date back to 1838 but parts were purged in 1937 – as you know a Soviet communist thing the main thing is the Migjid Janraising Sum, with a giant gold butter inside an hundreds of little Buddhas – the Buddha of Longevity.
Enkhi didn’t seem to know much Buddhism or history wise she explained that many Mongolians still in part follow some sort of shamanism. We decided we checked out a prayer hall next door where songful prayer was in order. We wandered the grounds more. It was nice then we decided to eat. We walked down to Peace Ave – really not that far and found a nice little place. We talked marketing and ‘key words’ for a shop selling backpacks and kids toys as far as I can ascertain.
Dinner was Buuz and Ribs. It was delicious but unsurprisingly I guess not so great for my stomach. It’s 925 PM and three hours later still unsettled turns out not so far from Peace Mall or hostel either [so easy walk]. We said goodbye. Strange girl – not confident in her English. Off with her husband tonight too Dharkant in the north – her hometown.
It’s very hard to believe this trip is only no not even yet seven days old not even a week since I boarded the plane in Melbourne. Fair to say I’ve already crammed in heaps in fact today was my first sleep in of the whole trip! amazing but true! I had a shower headed out needed need to blog tonight and tomorrow too I guess.
It’s nice and warm 20 or so degrees right now. The walk I took the back streets to this area – was 10 to 15 minutes and I went at a slow pace. Trees all lack leaves. It’s quite brown but you know, despite drunks and homeless there’s something nice about Ulaan Baatar.
From the outside the museum looked shut. I walked up to the door though and there was a little open sign on it inside 3000 Togrog and 5000 for the camera. I don’t know if I should have but I did. The issue is that it is a very small museum one tall room, a couple of skeleton remains in cases with real bones.
A few more cases up the stairs but essentially that’s it. I spent 10 to 15 minutes in there. Still – real Mongolian bones! Am I right?
So it was then that I strode purposefully down the road towards the main square in town, perhaps unsurprisingly is called Genghis Khan square. It’s big, the impressive Government House sits at the rear.
According to the Lonely Planet a giant free museum lives inside – well not today! A man who runs tours came out and chatted to me at to let me know no public allowed inside for two years! I decided to try the winter palace of Bogd Khaan, but first the post office was open on a Sunday yeah! Woo Hoo! So I grabbed some postcards and a few choice stamps.
A man in there was adding to his already extensive collection. I asked the girl there at the post office if there was a bus I could take to the palace as it was 4 ish kilometres away she wrote on a piece of paper the name to lookout for on the bus and a rough map to the closest bus station.
I walked there needed to get a bus card. Lady in the shop took me to the telecom company building to get a card as I could only recharge in the shop. The first bus to pull up was the one I wanted and I found the palace no trouble. To take photos it was an extra 50,000 Togrog – wow! Like $30! I declined still managed to sneak the odd shot like 4 actually. Best thing I’ve seen in town tourist wise. A temple complex attached to winter palace so many ornate gold statues, buddhas. The question remains though – just how Buddhist are you with all this gold?
The palace wasn’t huge but a beautiful house. The Bogd Khaan was the ruler at independence -papers from Manchuria were in the house. Must have been a short independence just checked the book – 1911 independence, becomes people Republic, 1924 USSR occupied them for years but it doesn’t look like they officially were part of the Soviet Union.
Anyways bused back to town to find their National Museum closed Sunday and Monday! Walked back down most of Peace Ave. Stopped in at the state department store supermarket and bought things for a chicken and mushroom pasta their selection of biccies and yummies. Back at the hostel I cooked and got another small load of washing done.
And I hurriedly finished this entry to fit in before the end of the page! Next week it’s my last day in Ulaan Baatar that night onto the train for Russia! Thanks for popping by! Take care, May the Journey Never End!