Day 17 - Northen Mongolia / Mongolia

Bratislava to Beijing
Northen Mongolia / Mongolia

We pass Russian-Mongolian border quite quickly, but right from this moment we begin to understand that now we are in a very colorful country. Those who are constantly moving between the two countries have their own rules and regulations. First, as soon as you have stopped, you should start running. It does not matter where, to passport control or to fill out a customs declaration. The main thing is to be the first in line! As we are not aware of these rules we are always in the tail.


Just after the border the local flavor feels everywhere. The cows walk along the roads, local drivers rush past you at insane speed, and there are mountains of rubbish in every place of human presence.


The road from the border to Ulaanbaatar is a complete torment. Not only does it loop between the hills, climbing up and then rapidly falling down, so it is also of a terrible quality. In all settlements there’re loads of speed bumps, the roadway is teeming with a huge number of pits, and it has sunk and formed very unpleasant trampolines in the places where the drainage pipes have been laying underground for many years. But the most unpleasant things are icy spots occurring at every turn. If you fail to calculate the correct speed, you immediately lose control over the car and get into a very unpleasant situation. We move as carefully as possible, trying to avoid road defects and gently overcome ice traps. Doing this, we cause genuine surprise among the local population, as all these obstacles are no hindrance for them when they rush about their business at tremendous speed.


Off the road we notice a large fire and several people standing around him. The first thing that comes to mind is that travelers have set up a camp for the night. While we are approaching, we understand that this has nothing to do with the tourists. The guide explains to us that it’s a shaman conducting a ritual. We can see how the thing goes, but only if the audience agrees, and the shaman gives his permission. After quick negotiations we are lucky to get the approval. Bottles with alcohol, knives, amulets and diamonds are laid around the fire. Before our eyes the worshiper is trying to establish contact with the spirits. Throat singing combined with the harp really makes you step back from what is happening outside the light of the fire. The sight is so unusual that you can't understand if it occurs in reality or you're watching a documentary. It’s a real dissonance in your head when you realize that at the moment you're watching some ritual ceremony, and just a few minutes ago, you were uploading footage of the day to the server in Germany.