The Fifth Day – “Mellow Thoughts Flowing Through”

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2017-12-21 11:30 GMT+8

Travel notes from my trip to the north of the country Part III

The moment we slid into our sleeping bags, dawn broke in an instant as if to taunt our exhaustion. The first destination today is a place called Shar Bulan, about 20 kilometers beyond Khust Ulii Hill. It’s hard to believe we had to cross the same river over 27 times. In an attempt to keep our minds off of our weariness we discussed the beauty of nature, reminisced our friends back in the capital city, and teased and made jokes about each other.

I found the small puddles of mud here and there adorable as they reminded me of a quote by my lady friend who is a poet, “as if pieces of the sky had fallen.” An interesting allegory indeed.

When the team caught the sight of Shar Bulan Bay, we ran to the ocean like foals would run to their mothers. Our horse-riding and walking trek ends here –a car should pick us up soon. I sat by the beach and observed the waves, while some of us played games, rested or slept. Just like the waves, mellow thoughts tenderly flowed in and out of my mind.

The unique characteristics of every individual in the world, the solemn distinctiveness of life and nature are truly wondrous.

The Sixth Day – “Standing Amidst Gentle Rain”

“Wake up, wake up!” an unfamiliar voice woke us just as the sun was rising. Our ride arrived during the night; the mud-drenched vehicle parked outside our tents on this rainy morning reminded me of a war movie. We packed up and got ready to move, silently noticing we became adept at packing and unpacking our luggage compared to the beginning of our journey.

“Let’s go and sing along the country road!” said our driver - the same unfamiliar voice who woke us up.

We arrived at a small neighborhood - with the word of our approach the residents rushed in and welcomed us with their freshly-baked of bread and fresh milk cream. For the hosts, it meant a great deal to spend a day talking to the travelers passing their way. Smiling and waving as we left, I wished for more travelers from afar would drop by their homes, for they can laugh and rejoice once more in what is something short of a celebration. As the drizzling rain kept falling, they kept waving until we could no longer see them as we drove over a hill. That night, we had a good rest directly north of Khuvsgul Lake, at the capital of Khankh sum.

The Seventh Day – “Tolit Khairkhan

A small ship named “Sukhbaatar” waited for us 90 kilometers away at Borsogyn Am. This is the eastern coast of the lake, rather close and parallel to Modon Khui island. The road was quite bumpy and broken – but nothing a dedicated vehicle couldn’t negotiate. If we had walked there, like we did through the western coast, it would have taken three days to get there. We made offerings and took part in the worship ceremony at the Thirteen Mounds.

Right at this moment a heartbreaking thought rushed in – however, I will tell you about it at the end of my journey.

Shortly after the ceremony, Tolit Burenkhaan snowcap mountain revealed its magnificent snow line – it is a rare sight, as the locals say the mountaintop is always surrounded within thick mist.

To the east of Burenkhaan mountain is the Khantkhaan mountain – the names symbolize a king and queen. Five smaller mountains are located to the west of Burenkhaan: Narankhuu, Sarankhuu, Galkhuu, Erdenekhuu and Odkhuu – named to symbolize their five sons.

I won’t deny it – I felt a sting of melancholy knowing Bukh Noyon and Burkhan Baavgai mountains stretched beyond the borders of my country, in the Russian lands. But I digress, we don’t need anything beyond great mountains and the magnificence of natural beauty.

Within a six-hour drive, we climbed over the Borsogo Hill to finally catch the sight of Sukhbaatar docked by the coast.

The boat headed for Khatgal, the misty air of the lake gently blowing against my hair and face. As the boat cut through thick waters of the lake, I stood on the deck watching the sunset – no, I did not want to leave this place.

Looking down at the water roaring aside from the boat’s way, I felt as if there was a terrible battle raging down below. Watching the waves from the coast allowed my mind to rest – but slicing through them made me uneasy. Maybe it is a sign, something which tells us we should treat water gently and softly.

We reach and sail past Khadan Khui island. It is truly the gem of Khuvsgul Lake. It was a wonderful and fitting home to all colors and types of migratory birds.

Younger travelers on the deck were busy chatting and celebrating and had no time to be bored. Perhaps they were talking about their future. This very moment will forever be remembered by all of us for a long time in the years to come.

It was already dark by the time we arrived at the Khatgal port.

The Final Day: “Beware the Southern Dust”

After yet another good night’s rest, we took our seats in the bus and took off for the capital city.

On our way back, two heavy-duty trucks rumbled past us in a storm of dust, headed for the lake. The distressing thought I’ve mentioned before – I had this dreaded feeling that the great dust arisen to the South of the lake in Southgobi Province would soon travel to the north and settle in Khuvsgul Province. I suppose, the thought would dawn upon any traveler who has an intimate experience with his motherland.

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