These last few months haven’t been marked by any big dramatic trips, but we have been getting in plenty of short day/weekend trips out to the countryside. And now I shall blog about them. Welcome to Adventures in the Countryside, Part I, in which we go to Erdenebüren, a village about an hour and a half away where some friends of ours live.
Thus far we’ve made two trips out to Erdenebüren, once in Feburary and then again in April. Our first trip there was pretty typically Mongolian–too many adults crammed into too-small of a car–but the trip wasn’t very long and at this point my standards for travelling in comfort are so low I can’t be bothered to care.
Our second trip out was distinctly more comfortable in that we had a Land Cruiser stocked with beer and food, but not nearly as fast because we broke down for three hours.
What happened was this: our friend who was driving noticed something leaking out of her car when she picked us up. So we took the car to the mechanic, who we could not initially find until some phone calls were made and he came out of the toilet with a raging boner. I can only assume that he desperately wanted to get back to addressing that situation because he fixed nothing and gave us the okay to drive. And then we broke down 45 minutes later because we were out of transmission fluid. After half an hour in the toilet, possibly the mechanic was, too.
The good news is that it was probably the most enjoyable breakdown of all time. I entertained myself by sitting on top of the Land Cruiser and waving at all the passing cars (read: 2).
Also, it was a beautiful day, the landscape was gorgeous, and I made Other English Teacher take breakdown selfies with me.
Two hours in we remembered that we had a Land Crusier full of beer, so we broke one out and decided the next logical step was to pretend to be models.
All in all, we were broken down for a very entertaining three hours while we waited for our friend’s Mongolian driver to come out with his tools and his transmission fluid and save us. Which he eventually did.
On both trips, our first order of business after arriving in Erdenebüren was to go exploring.
Also, climb things.
And both times we checked out local canyons and went hiking.
And both times hiking devolved into that classic game from our youth Throwing Things Into Water.
At some point on Trip 2 I decided it would be a good idea to go hiking without water or telling anyone where I was going, which was possibly stupid.
Also on Trip 2 we found a cool rock by the river that had a map of the Khovd River on it, and therefore needed to be played upon.
The river itself is apparently a whitewater tourist destination, provided you are rich enough to import your own boat and spend two days driving it out to this corner of nowhere. As you can probably imagine, there are no tourists.
And that was Erdenebüren! A very lovely little village in which live a lot of people that I really like. We had a lot of fun hanging out and exploring, and yes, even breaking down, and yes, even breaking down a second time when our Land Cruiser drove through a puddle on the way back and decided that life was too hard. Whatever. When life gives you breakdowns, climb mountains.
Have some gratuitous pictures of camels and horses, because the way back was full of them.
And truly, nothing is as cool as honking at camels to get out of the damn road.