The three of us, Dasha, Binderya, and I, stayed at that second ger camp last night. When we first arrived in the late afternoon it was gray, but then I found colorful goats and a beautiful sunset made the sky pop. Of course, I ran around taking a million photos of both the goats and the sunset.
The Toilet Situation
The toilet at this Gobi ger camp is an outhouse. It has a little roof, but is only really surrounded by low wooden walls on 2 sides and no wall on the front, which faces the road. It is definitely the least private restroom I have ever used. Binderya does not seem the least bit pleased about it, and I’m sure that same as me, she hopes she never needs to poop in it, since that takes longer and that is surely when the one car coming up the road every 2 hours would arrive—just in time for everyone in it to see a woman squatting over the hole in the ground.
A Delicious Dinner
After sunset we enjoyed a hot dinner of scrumptious goat soup in the blue-doored ger. I had eaten goat soup once before, in Kenya, and remembered it being really delicious, so was excited for this one, and it certainly met my expectations. During dinner the ger camp owner/cook asked Dasha about me, so he asked me a few questions and translated. If I had been on my own I would have chatted it up with the woman using gestures, but as it was I didn’t get to say much. Never having traveled with a translator before, I began feeling lonely again. I really wanted someone with whom to share my excitement at seeing the cute goats, sunset, huge sky, and everything else that was brand new to me.
After dinner, we went back to our own ger, which is furnished with typical nomadic cupboards and drawers. A wood burning stove in the center of the ger kept our little home cozy while we played a card game. I had never played that game before and was terrible at. I am not great at learning new card games when I am tired, and I am even worse when I do not understand the instructions.
After the game, Dasha and I got out the maps and my guidebook again to decide on a plan for tomorrow. I really liked the goat soup and the scenery here, and said we should stay another night, since tomorrow we could go visit the nearby glacier and do some hiking and animal spotting. Plus, the ger was $20 a night for all of us to stay in it, and that seemed like a good price to me. It all seemed like a good plan, and I went to bed excited for some more photography in the morning light.
Privacy in the 1-Room Ger
Note: All three of us share the 1-room ger, but I feel perfectly comfortable privacy-wise. Same as at home, everyone politely averts their eyes when another person changes clothes. There is no weird cultural difference in that sense.
It might have been my imagination as I unpacked my sleeping bag and other things, but I felt as though their eyes might be looking over my things. I do not mind this, since I too am curious about what a foreign toothpaste tube looks like– is it just like mine or is it totally different? In my opinion, this is one of the best parts of inter-cultural exchange that takes place between people who come from different places. We all get to see how real live people do things in a foreign land– not how they do something in a movie or television show.
Binderya noticed my FitBit, and was really excited about it. She showed it to her dad. (During my time in Mongolia, FitBits were quite new in the USA, so I’m not sure if they’d made it to Mongolia yet.)
Have you ever eaten goat soup or another goat dish? Or, do you prefer just photographing the animals when traveling? As always, feel free to share a fun story in the comments section below! Also, let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to know about Ger Camps.
Next Chapter: Mountain Goat Day! – wild animals!!!!
Previous Chapter: Desolate Earth – Gobi Desert landscape
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