12th July 2010
Leaving Bulgan now, had an amazing time at the Naadam festival yesterday and today. The celebrations started the day before yesterday, with vodka being passed around the bonfire after dinner as the Irish singers in the group followed the amazing Mongolian ballads, which are started up at any opportunity. Yesterday we saw racing, with 6yr old jockeys dressed up proud as punch in their satin outfits. My favourite was the tiniest little boy all in yellow - a popular Naadam colour - with matching yellow goggles. Unfortunately he didn't win, but he looked awesome. We also witnessed the wrestling, which was still going on today, and enjoyed an afternoon watching archery in the fields. Bulgan has only around 30,000 people so it was great fun joining the small crowds as the horses are registered then jumping in our vehicles to catch the end of the race. If the excitement of the Naadam wasn't enough we also stopped to visit a nomad family for salt tea. The reputation of the Mongolian hospitality was perfectly on the mark as they kept on offering tea, curd and sweets. Victor, the group photographer wiz, was able to print out some of the photos we took then and there to leave with them. Unfortunately for the old great-grandad we weren't also able to leave Anne, who he took rather a shining to, wanting a picture with just the two of them. Now we are driving onto Lake Ogii in our 4X4 convoy, and the views are just stunning. The thing about Mongolia is the camera just isn't big enough to capture the awesome views. I am trying though!