Sunday, October 11, 2009

Where eagles fly

Bayan-Olgi is the westernmost aimag in Mongolia and 70% of the population is Kazak. Kazak culture and traditions survived here better than in Kazakhstan. An eagle festival is held each October to celebrate Kazak culture and the tradition of hunting with eagles.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Go West

I travelled to Hovd, 1200km west of UB, a 3 hour flight, and 1 hour time difference, for a 3 day workshop and meetings.Hovd is one of the oldest towns in Mongolia, built as a fortress by Manchurians when this region was part of China. The old fortress walls remain as ruins, and the statues in the city square celebrate Mongolians involved in defeating the Chinese.

Flying out from UB i soon fell asleep and woke up to look down on small sand dunes and a landscape  of stony deserts and mountains with the city built beside a green river valley.

The work went well, tho with less experience of tourism than other aimags we had to change the workshop as we went along. The representatives of local communities wanted to be told what to do rather than develop their own ideas.

After  3 days work I travelled onto Bayan Olgi, more of that in a fture blog, before driving back to Hovd for our return flight. Unfortunately on the final night in Hovd I woke with a fever and have spent the last 5 days in bed.. Four weeks ago I felt I would live for ever after enjoying the Gobi half marathon, now I can barely walk a kilometre.

For more information on Hovd visit Gohovd website.