Saturday, October 19, 2013

Mongolia Ho!

Saving as much money as possible as been theme for the Honko family for the last 3 years.  TH has wanted to hunt stone sheep in Canada ever since he was about 8.  And so a chunk of our money was sent to a guide in Canada, months went by without a contract, finally getting the guide on the phone, it took him awhile to remember someone that had sent him $10,000!  It's been quite a while since I've seen TH that furious.  After a shouting match he finally got his point across that he wanted his money returned to him ASAP!  Now to say TH was let down, would be putting it mildly, he was super depressed, he had already begun dreaming about scrambling over the mountains in British Columbia, tenting out and seeing stone sheep and if he shot one thats good, and if not, thats ok too.  Its the experience he loves not the killing per say.

After talking it over, I pushed him to call an outfitter and see what would be possible to hunt for the same-ish price.  That's how Mongolian ibex became a household word and main topic of conversation. 

The best part about this hunt was that it was nearly 1/3 the price!  Score!  Somewhere the decision was made to invite 3rd son to hunt and youngest to go along, but not to hunt. 

The airport at Ulan Bator

 Then a flight on a prop plane to Hovd

Where the outfitters did a quick run thru a store that TH said was like a Costco.
And then off in a Jeep for a 7 hour ride to get to the mountains and hunt.

Check out the sharp drop off from the newly paved portion and the "shoulder"!!  This is the interpreter out for a smoke break.   The Russians are building a road from Russia to China through Mongolia.  While the Mongolian's despise the Russians their hatred for the Chinese is all encompassing.  China was never EVER mentioned with the word fucking in front of it. 

The bactrian camel used to be fairly plentiful, but with the advent of cars and trucks they are no longer needed, and their numbers are dwindling. 

A lovely yet barren landscape.  The pile of rocks on the mountain is a dry stone coral for yaks and sheep where they spend the nights surrounded by dogs to keep the wolves at bay.

The ger is still a popular housing choice for nomads and can actually been seen in Ulan Bator sitting quietly next to an apartment building.  TH and the boys were asked if they know the reason for the doors of the ger to face south, they guessed as something to do with weather.  No, that's where our enemies come from, fucking Chinese!  

As you can see, wood is in short supply, so the bits of wood are just to get the fire started, but its fueled primarily with yak dung and coal.
A yak getting milked by one of the ladies who live in the area.

Back to Ulan Bator.  If you look close, next to the concrete ger is an actual ger, complete with fence and outhouse.  Tis off to the right, just on the edge of the photo.
The buildings look rather ramshackle to our western eyes, but with limited equipment and a population wanting to leave the small towns and far flung nomad areas, buildings are being tossed up higgledy piggledy.   And after posing for a photo, the fellow with his arms crossed demanded money..
The traffic is completely out of control, often gridlocked for hours.  Capturing the police and ambulances, the interpreter told Th that quite often people die in ambulances stuck in traffic.  Ulan Bator is growing quickly but doesn't yet have the infrastructure to handle the current population.
The Mongolian Parliament building.  That's Genghis Khan sitting, and his two guards on horse.

Not sure of this fellow's name, but he freed the Mongols from the oppression of Chinese rule in 1912.
Gives a whole new outlook to the Disney film Mulan, yeah?
The piece of the wall is whats left of the summer palace.  The colorful buildings are the museum, where no photos are allowed to be taken, nor do they sell postcards, a photo book, etc. 

   The Blue Sky Hotel.  Lovely isn't it?  They are trying to attract tourism by offering luxury accommodations.  Mongolia is trying ever so hard to wrench themselves out of 3rd world status, but it is an uneven effort.  When TH and the boys would order something from the menu what they heard mostly was, "No!" with a sharp finger wag, that meant they were out of that.  Most of the items from many of the menus around Ulan Bator seemed to be out of many menu items.
Funnily enough, the most popular chain restaurant in Mongolia, is an American company!  Wild yeah?
Mongolian .money.  The fella in the odd hat is the guy who freed them from the Chinese.  Tis Genghis on the bottom bill, and that hole isnt a hole but has some sort of plastic imbedded with a faint printing.  The 20,000 Togrog is worth $11.78 USD.


  1. Looks like it was a GRAND trip! Did TH get a sheep? Very cool post, Biki. Now I want to go there.

    Peace <3

  2. Jay, 3rd son did shoot one, a much smaller one than in the photo, but TH didnt get a close clear shot. But he still loved every single moment he was there!

  3. Sounds like a great trip! And awesome pics. :-)

  4. That sounds like it was a great trip, and it's even better that it didn't cost nearly as much as you thought it would.

  5. Wow what a great trip! TH take the photos? You didn't say you were there. Say, what's the word on going back south for the winter?