Tuesday, January 7, 2014

From city camouflage to the real Mongolia

Tsetserleg is a small town located in Arhangai province, west of UB..the journey takes about 8 hours by the daily bus leaving from Dragon bus stand...
Having done our breakfast, we hopped on the bus, waiting for it to begin the long journey...it did leave on time and withing 20 minutes or so, we left behind the city and its architecture and the view on both the sides was replaced by green grasslands, sharp blue sky and a few rolling hills..only to be dotted once a while by a sole "Mongolian Ger" or a few horses herded by a nomad..we realised that now this, this was real Mongolia..and this was what we went there for..

Mongolian countryside

Bus to Tsetserleg

Halfway through the journey, our group of four increased by one more person who was on the bus..so now the group consisted of 2 Indians, one guy from Singapore, an Australian and the french girl we met on the bus...
We left the tar road behind and were on dusty roads for the most part..in fact, sometimes, no roads at all...the bus followed tyre marks created by previous vehicles..the bus kept producing dust clouds for rest of our journey.
Soon, with AC malfunction, the sun started baking our bus...opening the emergency window earned a round of applause for me from the commuters..after which, all seemingly cold faces till then, had warmth in them and smiles all around..it was the ice breaker and rest of the journey went faster, chatting with locals, as much as their broken English could allow..
We passed a town called Kharkhorin (an ancient capital of Mongolia), before reaching Tsetserleg. Tsetserleg is a small town, mainly famous for attractions nearby...a white lake, a volcanic mountain, fishing and such activities..situated on various sloping hills, it is dotted by various colored rooftops of houses..red, green, yellow, blue..the town itself has very little to offer..but has a modern European style guesthouse called Fairfield, run by an Australian guy...it costs about USD 20 per night and provides good hot showers, free internet and lavish bakery.

Checking in, we came out of the guesthouse to roam around the town for a while..even before the sunset, the town already seemed deserted...the only life in town was a few locals sitting, smoking cigars and staring at us blankly and a stray dog wandering aimlessly...it had the feeling of a cowboy town...but we realised the reason behind this emptiness as cold wind started piercing through our clothes and our skin..we had no other option but to retreat to our warm and cozy rooms..


Broad day light and deserted street

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