July 17, 2014
We woke up early, had breakfast, and prepared to experience our first day in Mongolia. A flat tire was the first thing I noticed when I finished loading my bike. I got a little anxious then: This is just the beginning of Mongolia; can my tires withstand the rough routes in Mongolia?
The road was smooth, the air fresh, and the scenery beautiful, but not for long. Gradually, the greenery gave way to arid land, and the sun turned into a scorching fire ball. With no trees in sight, we kept looking for some shade to make lunch in. To our surprise, we found a roofed bench with a make-shift table on the side of the road—why was it there? No clue. That was our dining/kitchen table, like manna from heaven. After an hour of rest, we left, but the road turned into sand, and controlling the bike became a constant challenge. After going through deep sands, we were pleased to have met asphalt again—so rewarding, but it was the end of our day anyway.
At about 6 pm, we arrived in a small town where we bought some water and groceries. And when I say “town”, don’t expect even a small village. Town in Mongolia means a group of houses sporadically placed in an area. But according to our map, it IS a town. We rode our bikes for another five km where we found a perfect spot for camping: by the river, under old trees, beside a tall cliff with an eagle nest on top.
We pitched up our tents, bathed in the river, washed our clothes, and relaxed for a while. It had been a rough day. After dinner, when I wanted to write my journal, I realized that my iPad was not in its place in the bag! In disbelief, I checked the bag again and again and again. No iPad! I had left it 100 km of hot sand back, in the hotel room!
I shared the news with Fausto. Then, I kept thinking what to do. I thought I would go to the last town, which was 5 km back, and get a Jeep to Bulgan. Fausto could go ahead, and I would catch up with him on the road or in the next town. The idea came to me rather late, so I couldn't wake Fausto up to tell him. With this thought in mind, and with a lot of hope, I went to sleep.
|Camp for the Night|
|Our Dinning/Kitchen Table|