Lose the map

Welcome to LoseTheMap, former diary of travels around Asia, then account of everyday life in Moscow, and now with my family in Berlin - VERSIONE ITALIANA

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Shots: http://picasaweb.com/lostconversation/Mongolia


Skeggis Khan Hordes climbed the Great Wall and after Mongolia weare ready to get acquainted with far away China.
4 weeks spent in Mongolia have been absolutely amazing: a journey through time, space and mind of this nomad people, leaving meunforgettable memories.

Ulan Bataar tries to be a cosmopolitan and fashionable capital city, and it works out well to the eyes of young mongolians thirsty for mondanity. But to our western eye this city is quite far from
The rest of Mongolia, which is more or less 5 times bigger than Italy, is made of nature, fucking big and wild nature, just like centuries ago!
From time to time you can find some ger (typical mongolian tent) along the unpaved road (well it's more like a path in the grassland) or up some hill, where mongolian nomads store their life, living by subsistence breeding hores, cows, sheep, goats, yaks etc... under the amazing mongolian sky.
Some of them have electricity and an old black&white tv, but the most of them don't know about tv shows and go to bed when sun sets; time here has a totally different meaning!
I was lucky enough to stay alone with this nomad family for a couple of days, living the daily routine: catching horses, drinking mare's milk, collecting dry cow's shit for the fireplace, staring at infinte grassland, playing with children and so on.. think i learnt a lot about them, and also about myself and my antibodies: soap and toiletpaper are they really so important?

I was living in UB in a weird and amazing place with some 20 couchsurfers (what a funny mess!), sleeping in ger and having the chance to spend 20 days wandering around in the countryside, together with other great travelmates and a mongolian russian-speaking driver called Aruhk. Communicating with this guy has been a tough experience, but now we are best friends and we know what "living in the desert" means!
Our main conversation was about "Paaaaaashli !!!" russian translation for"Leeet's gooo!" and "italian pasta" at lunchtime, together with"Sotomayo!" which has no sense in any language but it sounded good to me, and we used it in tough moments, and tough moments we had!

Anyway, riding on the roof of this wrecked russian van provided by our host, sitting on the fifth wheel next to petrol tanks i dipped into amazing and neverending landscapes: grasslands with green hills lasting 3 travel days.
Volcanic lakes, flatlands so flat that you can see the earth's roundness and the smashing Gobi desert: don't know who built it, but he was loaded with tons of creativity: huge sand dundes next to green fields with streams and camel'shit, hi and low mountains, lunar landscapes, canyon, cliffs, rocks and so on...! wow, unbelievable, and wild.

We had the hardest time when crossing a stream 1 meter deep and the vandied halfway.
The water slowy started entering from the bottom of the door: freezing and panic for a while, our lives are packed into dirty and dusted backpacks and i didn't want to mangle my passport or blow water out of my beloved ipod... the world was standing still...
But the wise and brave Aruhk knows when it's the right time, he talked a little with the van, relaxing it, and after a few minutes when the water was almost at our heels, windows completely steamed and the engine fan splashing water to the inside of the van, slowly and hesitatingly we made it, we got out of the water!
Yeah! Claps and shaking hands, smiling and whiping sweat from our forehead. We felt survivors for a while, now we needed whiskey!

Afterwards i eventually made friends with yak (with his everlasting fashionable haircut), camel (in his hump there's a real tap for drinking!), i walked into herds of cows, sheep and goats, who's lifes consist in farting happily, eating and farting again! I took a ride on mongolian horses, the ones Genghis Khan used to conquer the world with, sat on that iper-thin saddle (and your ass feels the pain) and i fed myself with mongolian main food: horse's mare milk!
In everyway: fermented, yogurtized, salty, vodkized, but never, never fucking normal milk!
This is life down here!

And what to say about life in UB: party up for mongolian gold medals at the olympics with concerts, public madness and fireworks in main square behind Gengis Khan!
2 days in a rock concert with crappy mongolian bands and friendly hardcore supporters; the black market where you can find everything and everything can find you, from a screw to a sheep's head for snack(!); stepping into buddhist monasteries, listening to mongolian throat-singing and spending many nights with good friends and crazy travellers at Sabina's place: who came to Mongolia must have something to say!

When i was in the train running to China i was still staring out the window at the mongolian landscape, flowing by and a sense of completeness came to me; my mind was heading backwards to all those places and moments, all those pictures in my mind shaping a huge painting, where there's no man's presence, the starring is just nature,still and pure nature.

It's hard to describe how it feels, being witness of such an amazing portrait, such an amazing world!
Time doesn't exist, it stopped many years ago: feelings of peace and harmony with mountains, sun, wind and animals are in front of your eyes, you can touch it, you can touch feelings!

All is so big, so untouched and so fucking pure; human beings are guests here, nature is still ruling and your mind flies across everything, above the mountains and above the clouds, and that moment of peace and purity is still in front of me, and it will be forever.
How lucky i am, contemplating, in silence.
I love this world.

I still see myself on that roof, shouting out my happiness, running against the wind, breaking for a while the for ages lasting silence.
For a while being part of it, making it mine, my Mongolia.
We have too many comforts and too much concrete, and when you leave those things behind and your eye focuses on all this paradise you begin to wonder where the hell we are going... is the present day really better than the past?Are we really happier?

I just wish we won't regret what we are losing cause it will be too late.

In the meantime, i enjoy this world, it belongs to all of us!

Thank You Mongolia!

Shots: http://picasaweb.com/lostconversation/Mongolia

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