Getting out of the five layers of woollen blankets, ultimate shields against the frozen nights, does involve an extra effort. As I walk out of the teepee I can see the morning fog crystallising into tiny diamonds that sparkle in the air. As they see me, reindeers stand up straight and stare at me with black and globulous eyes expressing both suspicion and curiosity. My stay with the Tsaatans starts here at the pace of
I didn’t really have time to rest during the few days I spent in Khatgal. Sitting in the car between one of the wrestlers I met yesterday and the frozen carcass of his horse, we drive towards Mörön at the pace of an overloaded car. There, he will sell his meat and I will take a minibus and reach the winter camp of a group of Tsaatans, the Mongolian reindeer herders. Let’s go to the
To say goodbye after such good times under the yurt is a difficult moment. I embrace them and wish the best to their family, and it is with a lump in my throat that I get on Honda's motorbike – no intentional pun here! – towards Khatgal. Tomorrow starts the Ice Festival during which I may have the chance to experience, among other celebrations, an event which the descendants of the Khan are fond of:
Tsagaan Sar or not, daily life continues at the rhythm of winter and even if every single day begins and ends up the same way, it does not mean that they do not come with their lot of surprises. Here is what life in a yurt looks like. The piercing screams of Batchimeg and Barougon, the youngest kids, wake me up and end in the first cries of the day. Luckily for my ears holidays are
A 17 hours trip in a badly heated bus which windows are covered by frost, followed by an hour and a half in a taxi and another half an hour of a freezing motorbike ride. That is the only way to join my hosting family in the middle of the steppe. But I will spare you the details since a significant event happened a few days following my arrival: Tsagaan Sar, the Lunar New Year,
Brutal wake-up. The whole world is shaking around me as the plane is landing. I am blinded by the light of the snow covered hills but can not stop contemplating their harmonious curves. After countless hours spent between planes and airports, I am finally in Mongolia. As I get in the taxi, I notice that the driver does not speak any English. Nor does the lady of the shop or the cook in the restaurant.