So we’re heading out west again for a 2 night home stay. The plan is we’ll be spending some time with a Nomadic family in Hustai and getting an idea of how they live and get to see some of the everyday Nomadic activities.
For this leg of our journey we’re in the old Russian UAZ Furgon van, something we had been looking forward to since we first saw one. It’s a 70’s design that has never changed, ours was built in 98. It’s built for this terrain so it certainly smoothed the road as much as it could be smoothed but was very basic; no aircon, no synchromesh, no radio. Nothing but the essentials; engine, steering wheel, and the all important cigarette lighter. Oh, and the cool looks:
And we only got stuck in the mud once:
On our way to Hustai Sugarbat asked if we wanted to go horse riding and it just so happened that one of newly made friends from UB suggested we get into horse riding as a hobby to see new places from a different perspective. So why not, let’s do it.
As an aside I should point out that all our party for the Naadam games, except for a very lovely octogenarian couple (proof that you’re never too old), had either just finished a riding holiday through the Steppe or were about to embark on the same. For the guys that had done it they couldn’t recommend it highly enough.
So we arrived at the home stay just in time for lunch, and a lovely lunch it was to, and then settled in and waited for our riding experience. And we waited, and waited. We went in search of Sugarbat; “they can’t find the horses”. It is a big place out there. On our way back we get beckoned into the hub of the ger settlement, the kitchen ger. The family are making buuz, a lamb, cabbage, and onion mix wrapped and pinched in a thin pastry wrap that looks similar to a pasty. These tasty morsels are steamed though.
They didn’t find the horses, tomorrow will be better.
As it was we spent half a day sitting by a river and another half a day waiting to see how they made horse hair rope that got cancelled as the matriarch was too busy. They had found the horses though.
Why would anyone favour horses over over modes of transport? Bumping all over the place having your bones shaked and your legs stretched around a hard leathersaddle. Where’s my Elvis?
On the flip side we did stay in the family’s main ger which was pretty amazing. We got to sleep in their beds, assuming they didn’t swap them for stone blocks for a laugh. The pillow was a beanbag type construction with the “beans” being gravel, this is not an exaggeration it was actually gravel. We likened it to sleeping on a park bench but that night, and the following night, we slept like babies. No alcohol was involved either before you ask.
So now we know that if we lose everything through bad fortune then we can still get a good nights sleep on a park bench.
We would make Senaca proud.