Our next stop was XIII Century National Park. This park has been set up to show how life was lived during the time of Chinggis Khan.
Welcome to the XIII Century!
After seeing the inside of the Ger and learning a little about life on the steppe, we were given the opportunity to dress up. Of course Pie went straight for the armor, shields and swords! She loved every minute of it! (We forgot our cultural training here when I put her on the “stool” for the photo op. Apparently it was a table, and standing or sitting on a table is a “no no” in Mongolia. Our guide did his best to explain to the workers that we didn’t have the same traditions and that it didn’t mean that we were going to lose all of our money! ;o)
Xuxu got in on the act and made the face of a Mongol warrior!
Stay out of my room, or else…
This man lives and works at XIII Century 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. He lives in a Ger behind this show place. He has 4 BIG dogs that keep him company.
XIII Century armor.
All of the Ger, even the modern ones, use this type of framing on the interior. In the next few days I’ll post a video about the building of a Ger. You can see the camel hair felt behind the framing. On the inside it is still soft, but on the outside it has formed a type of crust. The felt is water proof, wind proof and very warm.
This basket is held on the shoulders of the old people and they use it to gather dung for the fires. Our guide grew up in a Ger and said that he likes the smell. Later on in the day we went into a Ger that had recently burned it, and honestly, it wasn’t too bad!
Xuxu also liked the armor, and said that she was a character in “Night at The Museum!”
These stairs were logs just “rough cut” in half and then nailed to a ramp. They weren’t too sturdy, but they worked!
Once again we see the sheep herder on a motor cycle, but this time with a baby on front.
Again, I’m sorry that I couldn’t change lenses! I would have loved to have been able to zoom in on this guy, but protecting my camera from the dust on these dirt roads was priority! We tried to wave him over to the van, but he didn’t come. I then leaned out and yelled, “sanbano!” and he waved to us! (sanbano = hello)
We were supposed to be fed a traditional Mongolian meal at this next camp, but the wires were crossed at some point and the people maning the station didn’t get the news! So very glad that I grabbed dried mangos and cashews on the way out of the door. We’re also very glad that we stopped to buy more water. There was nothing out here except for Gers, nomadic people and animals!
This little girl belonged to the family that ran the “King’s home.”
It is amazing to me how much light actually fills these Gers. Today they use plastic, but in the XIII they used stretched animals innards. None of my photos were taken with a flash! You’ll get a better idea of how big this Ger really is in a moment.
And again, we get to play dress up!
“Forget the dresses mom, there is armor and very cool helmets to wear!”
Janice playing the horsehead fiddle to entertain the court!
And now Xuxu plays a piece!
I am the Queen!
Oops, I mean Janice is…
Pie finally found a colorful hat that she would wear!
Star could easily fit in as a Mongolian princess!
And here she is sitting on the throne (below)…see, I told you this place was BIG! They had recently had a dung fire burning and the smell was not terrible, almost sweet!
This is where the employee and her family live.
This is the woman that was supposed to feed us lunch. She was very upset about it all and spent a good deal of the time talking to our guide. I couldn’t tell if she was angry and apologetic.
We see standards like this in nearly every culture. The ones that came to mind immediately were American Indians, the house of Israel and the Chinese. Each Mongolian tribe has a specific standard. One of them is the same symbol used as the Nazi swastica, but was used long before the Germans. It really bothers my girls, and so I try to steer them away from it when we see it.
After this we were taken to the Shaman camp. The spirit there was very evil, even today, and we didn’t stay long. I took only two photos but ended up deleting them. Thankfully, our guide completely understood our feelings and didn’t insist that we go into the Gers in this location. He said that there was clothing to look at, but that even the clothing had an evil spirit about it. On we go…
We are now in a “typical” ger at a different camp. Tulga was telling us about the different tools around the home.
Tulga is teaching the girls how to play games with sheep ankles. (He grew up in a Ger and actually played these games!) Each of the four sides represents a different animal. Tulga could tell the difference easily, but I had a hard time! (See the explanation here.) They then roll them like dice and the way that the ankles land has different meanings. The girls really really loved this! He also showed them how to have a horse race! It was fun!
This is traditional Mongolian food. The copper pitcher contains yogurt (unsweetened) and bowl that looks like butter is a thick type of cream to put on bread, the square looking chips are dried fermented yogurt and the tortilla type things are again, a dried, but still moist, fermented yogurt. We were able to taste all of these delicacies. I don’t think that any of them are items you’ll find in our home soon.
I don’t have photos of everyone riding the camel because I was busy video taping, but everyone got a turn. The poor camel sounded like he had arthritis as he nearly cried every time he got up and down.
Aren’t I cute?!
Then, each of the girls took a turn riding the Mongolian horse. They are tiny, but sturdy.
This is a well pump that is 70 meters deep. This man is watering his flocks.
Outside the well house, is where the animals are gathering to get a drink. The baby cows didn’t seem to mind us, but the camel was not to sure. He was just curious enough to stay and watch us, but wouldn’t let us get within about 5 feet. While the girls played with the animals, the adults learned that the camel can go for 70 days without food or water!
“Can I take her home mama?”
Here is another example of the animal shelters used in the winter time. You can also see the round spots where the families move their Ger to get out of the wind.
How many camels can you see?
This is the last sight of the day. There were supposed to be artists here, showing us the ancient Mongolian script. But, alas, the camp was empty. We didn’t mind! We were having so much fun it didn’t matter one bit!
The views were spectacular! I only wish my camera had captured the colors!
This is a wooden Ger. Our guide called it “the spa.”
Tulga, guide extraordinaire! (Photo by Star.)
This trip took us 9 hours on long very bumpy dusty dirt roads. It was worth every single sore muscle and joint! Not only did we get to see a part of Mongolia we never imagined, we made a couple of very good friends!
It has been recommended that we read the following books on the history of Chinggis Khan and his daughters. We are starting them this evening. I receive no monies from these links.