A Travellerspoint blog


Mongolian Throat Singing

sunny 20 °C

This one is for David and Georgina, and Bob, who tried very hard, but was no good at Throat singing!!!!

Mongolia is famous for a lot of things, in particular its throat singing, in fact the region of Tuva (Russia) is where the most of it started. They use a two string instrument which is called a morin khuur, and some kind of traditional harp, and the star of the show is able to use his throat to produce some more than one tone simultaneously.

While i was in Karakoram, Mongolias ancient capital, i got the chance to see it, after having a go at it in Ronda, Spain with David, Georgina, and Bob!!!

This song was about a Camel.......

THis song is about a horse...

me and the man...

Article By David Beattie of Rounton Coffee

Posted by beatski 04:55 Archived in Mongolia Tagged mongolia singing throat overtone Comments (0)

Horse Trekking in Mongolia

sunny 20 °C
View Overland debacle on beatski's travel map.

Horse Trekking in Mongolia

Going to Mongolia and not going horseriding is like going to Grangetown, Middlesbrough and not getting happy slapped. Horseback riding in Mongolia is still the preferred mode of transport in the country. So when looking for places to learn how to horse ride then how can you not be tempted by a company who has a get out clause on their website as this:

“Personal Danger: Horseback riding is a dangerous activity. You can be seriously injured and you may be hours or days from major medical care. You need to understand this and be willing to accept 100% of the risk yourself. (Stepperiders is not liable for any illness, injury or death sustained while using our services.)”

Yep, this was the professional outfit that I had chosen to teach me the ropes and to make me into a Lone Ranger. It was true though, Mongolia being the vastest country I have seen, it is not like you can dial 999 and expect a paramedic to come out and inject you with a touch of morphine while your crooked limb is repositioned. It is more likely you will have to drink a litre of vodka and get airlifted out of the country, which literally could take days, I heard two separate stories of people getting hurt and taking up to 3 days to get help.

It didn’t put me off.

So the first day we, we being Johan, Evy and Andre, were asked ‘so you been on horses right?’ Lesson over.

We got straight onto the hairy beasts, trial and error was always the best way to learn when riding potentially lethal animals. Health and Safety take the fun out of things don’t they?

So there we are, on these powerful beasts thinking we were Frankie Detorri, trying to get these lazy bastard horses to go faster than walking pace. Those horses knew we didn’t have a clue. They were playing us and were not going to do any more work than they had to, so we hopped along, and would occasionally get a good gallop, but that must have been a fluke.

Come on, we had got into the rhythm of this but we wanted speed. We wanted the wind to whistle past our ears as we went pelting down the vast lands of Mongolia. After being on a horse for only once in my life before this time I was ready to dive into this with both feet. Give me Seabiscuit, I'm ready for some real fun.

The next day, we were given a new guide and faster horses, and this time we went on an 8 hour arse numbing ride.

You could hardly go wrong in Mongolia, I mean the land in parts was quite flat, and there were no fences, nothing to have to really navigate around. Looking at us, you might have even been given the wrong impression that we knew what we were doing. That is all I can think that the guide thought as he came up behind me, challenged me to a horse race, and whipped the arse of my horse. This was it, we were off. My horse lagging slightly behind all the time as if he was toying with me, actually, of course he was toying with me. He was weighted about two ounces and had been horseriding all his life. I had seen 6 year old boys saddleless on horses galloping light speed past me bouncing all over the place with only the reigns somehow managing to keep them from falling off. That was him 20 years ago. Fast forward in time and now he is playing about with this wannabe cowboy, and although I had been losing weight I was still a big heavy bastard, add to this the fact that this was in total only my 3rd day on a horse then I was never going to beat this guy. Try telling me that at the time though, I was catching up to him or at least I thought I was.

Then I was catapulted from the horse. One front leg of the horse had buckled and it had stopped dead in its tracks. I was flung forward out of the stirrups into the air. I don’t really remember flying, only the dramatic commando roll I did once I landed. The next thing I know I am stood on my feet!!!! Meanwhile Seabiscuit the crazy horse is sat nibbling on some grass….. The guide meandered back and looked about as worried as Sean Ryder chewing on a crocodile’s penis.

I obviously still had some lives left, as the next day I was given what I can only describe as a semi-wild horse, one that was just uncontrollable, one that as soon as his head was straight, it would shoot off in that direction at warp speed and there was no slowing down. I had to make sure that the horse was always looking up in the sky. This horse really needed a heavy dose of ketamine. When all my efforts to slow it or stop it had failed, I would let go of the reigns and then just hold on to the horse’s neck hoping that it would stop. The marijuana smoking Mongolian guide simply rode beside me and said “you are not very good”. No shit….

Now it has been said that I have a big arse, maybe that is true, but this arse was not padded enough for the beating it had taken over the last few days. We returned after a hairy 4 hours, I couldn’t sit down, having to lie on my front and side. I sit the afternoon session out; I had used all my lives up and didn’t want a ride in a Mongolian air ambulance.

Me on my horse, the day i was threw off
He is a little tinker...


Article By David Beattie of Rounton Coffee

Posted by beatski 20:22 Archived in Mongolia Tagged trekking horse riding stepperiders Comments (2)

Horse Stomach with Onion?

Mongolia 22nd October

So I failed the test ok?

It was the thing that I had been trying to avoid and had managed to succeed up until my final leg of the journey out of Mongolia. I had been travelling through Russia and Mongolia where men eat meat and that’s that. It is beyond comprehension that people would not eat meat for whatever reason. I thought I had gotten away with it, and I was leaving Mongolia having only had that brief run in with a little pig meat Granny had gave me. But that was long forgotten.

It was the thing that I was afraid I would do and I did it, I felt terrible.

I was on the local train from Ulaanbaatar to the Mongolian border town of Zamyn-Uud, I was in Kupe class again, and I was on the top bunk, the ride was to be about 12 hours overnight. The carriage attendant brought in 4 cups of hot water with a choice of Mongolian Tea (Milk, Green Tea and Salt) or Coffee. These train journeys are a time to relax and are generally quite sociable, so I came from my perch and sat with the 3 others, who didn’t speak a word of English, and I could only muster the words I had picked up along the way which didn’t really amount to much. The guy opposite me was in his 40’s he was travelling with his wife and her friend. Seeing that I was down from above he took this as a time to proudly open up a package that was covered in newspaper wrappings and unveiled a grand portion of dumplings. He offered them to me, so without having chance to think, I picked one out and doing what I normally do, I ripped it in half and looked at what nasties were inside. I must have pulled a face. It was jam packed full of mutton, but what did I expect, Tofu, Linda McCartney’s pretend sausage, or maybe a bit of couscous? I tried to tell them that I was vegetarian. I dumped it on the table and refused it, I might as well have folded my arms and spat my dummy out. Of course this was done with just about as much tact as a punch in the nose. I mean why didn’t I just eat it? Their suspicions that I was maybe not from around here may have just been aroused around about that point. The Tupperware box came out next and I wasn’t offered any of this. In the box it looked like long cut flat pieces of mushroom, it had that dark colour and texture, it was accompanied by some chopped onions. It was that Mongolian classic dish of boiled horse’s stomach. I probably pulled another judgemental face. They were cocking their heads back so they could get the whole thing down their throat in one go as if they were eating some liquorice lace, slurping and sucking up that beautiful horses tummy.

They loved it.

The husband left the compartment briefly, I took the dumpling and pushed it to the bottom of my empty cup of coffee, I topped it with some rubbish trying to hide my shame. I climbed back to the top bunk and ate my Cheese and Onion Crisps. I didn’t offer anybody anything.

If you have some time to kill and want to see how Mongolian border control works then cross the border into China on a lazy Sunday morning…. Jeeps, throwing rocks at them, kicking the doors in, smashing up innocent cars, woman pissing in the back of the car….

boiling sheeps stomach, similar to a horse, but a sheep instead.....

Article By David Beattie of Rounton Coffee

Posted by beatski 02:49 Archived in Mongolia Tagged train soft mongolia seat mutton kupe Comments (2)

(Entries 1 - 3 of 8) Page [1] 2 3 » Next