Day 11, July 29th – Reaching Tariat, and the Great White Lake!

Today set off to a good start, with a heavenly breakfast at Fairfields, an English speaking restaurant run by an Australian couple, right next door to the hostel we were staying at. The variety of the menu meant that pizza and chips could be ordered without anyone blinking any eyes, though also available were sausage sandwiches made of frankfurters and lovely thick, crusty bread. WE were making up for potentially paltry breakfasts later on and it was well worth it!

Mr. Postle, before our disbelieving eyes, consumed eggs, tomatoes, sausages, bacon, toast and pancakes, as well as tea and coffee! Such food all together is so uncommon now as to be almost alien, and we’re just over a week in!

After driving through the hot sunshine we stopped at a roadside shrine to feast upon cucumber sandwiches. Many members of the group were slightly nervous at the sight of three circling birds, obviously giving us the beady eye, which on an obscure form of eagle is quite a sight to see. Mr. Postle said they were portentous, but we told him that was only vultures.

Before leaving, we all walked around the shrine three times, and several of us left offerings. Typically you’re meant to left vodka or food, but a limited budget meant that symbolic stones were top of the list. I like to think the spirits appreciated the purple flowers that I found.

Stops came three more times; to take pictures of a famous gorge, a tree with supposedly 100 branches, and the largest of Mongolia’s volcanoes (at the moment dormant). All three sites were adorned with prayer shawls, which at first sight look more like batter blue plastic bags – being ravaged by the elements didn’t help – but have great spiritual importance.

Finally, we reached Tariat, a small town on the edge of the Great White Lake, and drove to the spot where we would meet the wranglers for the trek – only they hadn’t arrived yet.

We are camped on the shores of the Great Lake, on a plain surrounded by rocky hills, and inhabited by strange moths that click their wings together as they fly. At least we have plenty of woods for the fires, and a ready made fire pit for we to start news ones. The horses that are grazing nearby are very noisy, though.

We have worries about them coming to eat out tent guy-ropes.

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