It has been a few weeks since our return from Mongolia, but my mind is still there.
In my dreams, I am building a jurt (ger) with our guide Tseegii. I am holding the two centre posts with the ceiling wheel above and I am yelling at Tseegii to hurry up, because a sand storm is coming and I am not able to hold the posts any more. And poor thing Tseegii is running around, dragging the sticks to connect ceiling to side walls. But our math is in hell, because the number of the sticks doesn't match the number of the holes in the ceiling wheel. And my friends Pavel and Helena are standing aside, sipping red vine from crystal glasses (in the middle of desert! with a sand storm behind their backs! ) and laughing at us: "Back to school to learn arithmetics!"
Postak, we would like to thank you and to your partners in Mongolia, because our vacation was amazing. In all aspects, everything went smoothly, no problems.
We were lucky to have Tseegii as our guide; she was a real sweetheart, so much caring, so much helpful and always fulfilling our wishes and our unexpected requirements ( - to see nomads building a ger was one of them and she managed! ) It seemed to me that she was capable to read our mind, because she came with answers or suggestions before we were able to express our self with questions.
Also, all our drivers (in UB, at Khuvsgul lake, or at Gobi desert) were very good, very helpful and friendly. Not just skilled drivers which we felt safe to be with, but also skilled auto mechanics. For example, our driver in south Gobi desert, to our amusement, fixed the shock absorber on one rear wheel in no time, improvising in the middle of desert without proper auto parts! This incident was certainly not planed, but it added one more impressive adventure.
Accommodation and food in all four ger camps - Khustai park, Ashikhai Ger camp at Khuvsgul lake and both ger camps at Gobi desert - were excellent. All of them exceeded our expectation. Real luxury for couch potatoes like we are in our age. Cleanliness of gers, bed sheets, cleanliness of bathrooms, showers, hot water everywhere and at any hour - just perfect. When talking about my vacation in Mongolia, I always mention that staying in ger camps in Mongolia with the service we got from staff was much better than staying in Ramada in UB. I am not complaining about Ramada. It is just to give my friends some picture what kind of luxury some ger camps in Mongolia have. And service? Perhaps we were just lucky to be in Mongolia at beginning of the season, because not many tourists were around at that time. So much attention, so much care; we felt like kings. Luxury, you can just dream of.
For example: one night at Ashikhai camp, at 1:00am, I went to take a shower. The employee girl was just cleaning the showers, apologizing that she let me a minute to wait. I was done in 5 minutes. The girl was still cleaning the hallway and she looked at me puzzled, asking, if I need anything. I said: "No, everything was perfect" and I left. Next morning, the manager !!! of the camp came to ask me, if there was something wrong in the showers? If I missed anything? Because I left the shower so soon ??? Unbelievable! You would hardly experience such a care in any 5 star hotel!
Another example: My friend Helena got slightly sick on stomach the first night at Ashikhai camp. Perhaps after eating a raw salmon for breakfast at Ramada in UB. The staff of Ashikhai camp with our amazing Tseegii were running up and down from the kitchen to our gers until midnight and bringing on trays different remedies to get Helena better. Unbelievable! Helena was OK in the morning. Thank you, Tseegii, thank you Ashikhai ger camp.
The only complain we expressed on our whole trip was, when we learned at dinner time at Ashikhai ger camp, that our return flight next day back to UB was postponed by a half of the day. We were showing to Tseegii our itinerary and she showed us her itinerary. There was discrepancy. Why we were not told ahead? What now? Poor Tseegii tried her best to pleased us, to find some program for us, but no success. We were not pleased with any of her suggestion.
But couple hours later she joined us still siting in front of our gers with amazing plan. She knew how much I am interested to see Mongolian art of horse riding. She, with help of the management of the Ashikhai ger camp, arranged a horse show for us for the next morning. Something unbelievable.
Next morning, a couple of local horsemen showed up with their half wild horses. Whole personnel of the camp got involved. Some of them just as spectators, same as our group of 3 tourists !!! , but most of them helping to keep those wild horses together. Even small kids were riding the horses, some of them without saddles, trying to keep a herd of horses together. Competition started and was for anybody. Our driver tried to cutch a wild horse by lasso, our favourite girl from the kitchen (who was playing horse head fiddle and singing the night before) ended as a last one in the race :((( . The only one, who managed to pick up his hat from the ground while speeding the horse, was one of the local horseman.
The event was natural, improvised, not prearranged by professionals for tourists. This is, what we appreciated. Amazing event, ten times better than spending a half a day in UB as was originally planed. Thank you, Tseegii. You did an excellent job.
One more comment for you, Postak.
What I really appreciated was, that our guide Tseegii and our drivers were dining with us. I am comparing with my previous vacation (Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet), where our guides just sat us at restaurants and than they disappeared, always refusing to eat with us.
In Mongolia it was different. Our Tseegii and our drivers were part of the family. We needed them to sit with us at the table, to answer our questions. About the food we were eating, about ingredients in food, about their life, about life in Mongolia etc. "Where is the driver? Cleaning the car? OK, but we will not start to eat until he is here!" This became the rule. We greatly appreciated that our guide and our driver were dining with us. And we were really lucky to have such an excellent guide and drivers, because we really enjoyed their company and we learned so much from them.
Thank you once more, Postak. The same like you did two years ago, this time again, you organized a wonderful vacation for us.
Thank you, Mongolia.