Mongolia Week two- Hatagal

Our arrival in Hatgal makes the beginning of our first real cultural exchange.  From the town we ventured off road to an open field where Naadam was being held.  Naadam, the largest cultural festival of the year, was our first major activity.  We had the opportunity to see up close traditional sports such as horse racing, wrestling and archery. There was also plethetheral of food stands and vendors. We witnessed it all with the students of the local school, with whom we would be spending the next few days with.  The students expressed a great interest in American languages, music, and school while helping us to understand the area and customs.  Over the course of a week, we exchanged songs, played volleyball, and became good friends.  We also partook in their yearly painting of the school and trash pick up. Our time with them was concluded with a long farewell and the exchanging of gifts. The next day we set off on our 5 hour house trek from the school to Blue Pearl Camp that overlooks Lake Khövsgöl.  After riding over hills, through the wilderness, we found ourselves for the first time immersed in the Mongolian outdoors only stoping for lunch and to meet a group of reindeer.