Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

There was a British guy who was at the guest house when I got there yesterday, but he decided not to come. So Jane, the owner of the guest house, a Swiss guy who came in last night, and I all got in the owner's car this morning about nine and drove up here to the grassland.

I have always shied away from "sleep in a yurt" tours. What's the point? Mongolians don't live in yurts anymore; they are no longer nomadic. Can't blame them, can you? Anyway, I just could not get excited about some place where they have a gazillion yurts crammed together filled with tourists who came there just to have the beer party and say they slept in one.

Jane and the Swiss guy.
But the place we came to today is different. This place is a private farm. It is quiet and secluded. I have always said that the grassland of Inner Mongolia is like the prairies of the Great Plains. I guess that's another reason I have not been excited about the grassland. I lived in North Dakota for lots of years, and have seen plenty of prairie. But after seeing the place, I would say that it is probably more accurate to compare the grassland to the way North Dakota was a hundred years ago. There are very few fences here. And the few they have seem quite meaningless. I haven't seen one that didn't have significant gaps, or sections where the fence was lying on its side. Only the politest of animals could be restrained by the fences I have seen.

I'll tell you one thing for sure. Mongolian horses are rough riding! They have a short gait, so the ride does not even out as you pick up speed. I don't know, maybe I'm just not used to them, but it seemed to me that anything faster than walking was pretty rough. I remember riding Queen bareback when I was kid. Trotting was a bit rough, but as soon as she broke into a gallop, the ride actually got quite smooth. Not so with the Mongolian horse.

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