Friday, July 24, 2009

Sain yavaarai!

Back row, from left to right: Sharon (Shaz), Adrian (Doors), Violeta, Erka, Theresa, Puji, Rachel, Gamba, Karen, Forrest, Evan, Adam and another one of our drivers.
Front row, from left to right: Our driver (and I'm so bad for not remembering his name considering we spent 10 days riding around in his car), me, Eric, Cathleen, Jenny, Marilyn and the another of our drivers. Maree took the photo so she's not in the shot.



T
he title of this posting is how you say goodbye in Mongolian. Don't ask me how to pronounce it. Puji said it about a million times to me but I just can't get it :-(

We took our group photo at lunch on our last day. We did the typical lineup and then we asked the drivers and Puji to pose for a separate photo. The guys did a phenomenal job of driving us around considering the distances we often had to travel and the road conditions which on many a day was nothing more than hard dirt. Driving under those sorts of circumstances will take its toll on you at the end of a very long day.


Of course, I took my opportunity to get both Adam and Puji to do a happy jump for me. Puji didn't understand what I was asking her to do so Adam tried to explain it to her....."Just jump".

He tried but she still didn't get it so it took a couple of us to demo it to her :-)

So, on a count of three, cheeky Adam stood still so only Puji jumped. That confused her so they did it again.

This time, cheeky Adam jumped on the count of 2. Poor Puji. So confused. One more time!

This time, we got the shot!

Eric wanted to get into the act and Puji was really enjoying herself so here's Eric's shot. Tall and gangly, he was able to really jump high. I love the look of joy on his face!

After lunch, it was a short ride back to Ulaan Baatar. The final stop for today was a trip to the cashmere factory where you could find cashmere woolens at a (supposedly) discounted price. After 10 days of roaming around Mongolia, the absolute last thing I wanted to do was go shopping so I basically just did *window shopping*.

We arrived back at the hotel in the late afternoon. Violeta and I got the same room back which was nice.

I immediately hit the shower and Violeta crawled into bed. She was not feeling well as whatever she had eaten for lunch had not sat well in her stomach. Luckily for her, it was the end of our bumpy road rides otherwise, she would have been truly miserable.

We had our last group dinner that night at a popular western style pub located very near the building that houses the Mongolian National Circus. I met up with several of the gang in the lobby and we all walked over together. When we arrived at the restaurant, Adam was already there waiting for us; Puji arrived a short time after us as did Alexandra, Theresa, Karen and Forrest.

I was thrilled that I could actually eat something other than mutton so it was fish and chips for me. The group had bonded well over the trip and so dinner was a bittersweet affair. I'm always sad to say goodbye. I was seated next to Marilyn and we chatted about what we had just gone through and what awaits us when we get home and where our next adventure will take us. It was such a different experience for me than when I met her at our introductory meeting. I will miss spending time with this brash chick!

Rachel and Marilyn had flights later in the night so they left the table early. The rest of us hung around to hear some live music played by a Mongolian cover band. If I might say so myself, they weren't half bad. I called it an early night myself as I had a morning flight back to Beijing. I gave everyone who was staying behind a farewell hug and walked back to the hotel with Jenny and Adam. In the lobby, I did another round of farewell hugs. I will miss both of them as well....sweet Jenny and cheeky Adam!

Back in the room, Violeta was snuggled into bed. As I fell asleep that night, all I could think about was how memorable and amazing my short visit to Mongolia had been. Lucky for me, I will have this blog and a lot of photos to remember it all by!!