UB: catching up

Migjed Janraisig

Moleskine Entry: April 20th, 2011

or ‘things that I’ve forgotten to write down and mustn’t forget that I did them’

Day one in Ulaanbaatar (UB):

  • Feeling immensely spiritual (and quite honoured) after catching an extremely rare Buddhist ceremony at the main Monastery (pictured) in UB. So rare in fact, our guide called her mother as it began so she too could hear the prayers and chants around us; incredibly moving.
  • Facing down pick-pocketers (my new favourite past-time)
  • Crying tears of laughter at the hilarity of Mongolia’s ‘world famous’ International Intellectual Museum. There are honestly, no words.
  • Oly (finally) admitting his love for our first Honcho, Marina.
  • Beers, pool and then a Mongolian Karaoke Bar until the very early hours.

Yesterday (day two in UB), we drove for an hour out of the city to camp out for the night in a traditional Mongolian Gur camp. It was pretty impressive stuff.

View from above

There was horse-riding, local delicacies, a visit to a nomadic family and of course, the sunrise earlier this morning. An additional bonus was that the other group we met on our first night in Moscow were staying at the same camp-site too and now, we’ll be travelling together all the way to China.

Oh yeah, that’s another thing, there’s still China.

<GRIN>

Jasmine flowers of Lebanon

2011-09-23_1024

Jasmine flowers of Lebanon,
fall softly on dusty streets.
The fragrance soft, enraptures,
stops me dead upon my feet.

Around me buildings crumble,
scars of war so plain to see.
Yet nature’s beauty thrives right here;
this flower has ensnared me.

Soaring, its scent takes me.
Higher, higher still.
Skies, bright blue. Sun, pure yellow.
I’ve nearly had my fill.

But wait, one second longer.
Let me taste its wonder once more.
Savour this moment, this fleeting kiss,
Fair flower maiden, no more.

Sunrise

Moleskine Entry: April 20th, 2011

Up at 5am this morning.

Last night I jokingly remarked over dinner how awesome it might be to watch the sun come up over the Mongolian mountains. Given that we were literally in the middle of nowhere, camping, there probably wouldn’t be another opportunity like it.

“GREAT IDEA!” they replied, in unison.

It was cold. It was madness.

It was… Beautiful.

And still the train keeps going

Winding through the Siberian forests

Moleskine entry: April 16th, 2011

Growing up on the relatively small land mass known as the British Isles, I guess the longest single train ride you could take would be London to Edinburgh [8hrs, in December snow]. As such, you can’t really get your head around being on a train for four or five days.

It still blows my mind.

Wooden shacks and settlements pass slowly by as our track meanders around the northern border of Kazakhstan. Having been led through tree-soaked hills and over ancient oxbow lakes, the landscape is now quite barren – we are approaching Mongolia.

I slept for about ten hours last night, maybe twelve. We’re easily way ahead of Moscow time now and drinking ’til dawn is a pleasant experience. It’s 13:30 at the time of writing. The gentle clack-clack clack clack of the tracks below make an oddly comfortable sleeping companion and rest has come easy.

We’re living in two time zones.

Outside it’s 13:37.
Inside it’s 17:37.

It still blows my mind.

Zimbabwe Bungee Jump. In HD.

Victoria Falls Bridge

Two years ago I jumped off Victoria Falls Bridge in Zimbabwe (you can probably just about make out the ropes hanging down from the centre of the image above).

It was, without doubt, the most thrilling thing I have ever done in my entire life.

At the time, for some (typically me) reason, I shot the whole thing on my phone. That too, was awesome.

Earlier this week, I was sorting through one of my old hard drives and I found a bunch of files from my old HD video camera. One of which, was a full 2min video of the exact same jump, but shot from the bridge. I had forgotten that at the time, when I went up to do the jump, I’d handed my camcorder to the tour guide to look after for me.

The legend actually recorded the whole thing.

I didn’t even know I had it. Amazing.

^ Turn it up to HD

Just speechless really. I get such a rush just from watching it.

Best. Discovery. Ever.

 

 

Time Travel

Moleskine Entry 14/411

Moleskine entry: April 14th, 2011

Within the train, we’re on Moscow time. The timetables, dining schedule and bar opening hours are all on Moscow time.

When we get off the train however (at various stations and stops along the way), we’re suddenly on local time, which could be anything upwards of +2/3/4hrs more.

Time travel.