The night train cart was small yet cozy. They had four beds each with sheets, a pillow and an itchy blanket. Everyone mostly stayed in their rooms and talked and bonded. The beds were surprisingly comfortable and easy to sleep in. When we arrived in Gobi early in the morning, we relaxed and ate before going to some museums.
First museum: Danzanravjaa museum is a museum starring… Danzanravjaa! It is filled with things that belonged to him and unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures. Anyway he had multiple hobbies. He was an artist, poet, medic, a Buddhist monk and many other that are too many to remember. His paintings were hung around the museum. They were all depicting Buddhist women. There was also glass case full of his medical tools. They were all so small. One of the other cases had his dads pigtails in it.
Museum two: Dinosaur museum. There were fancy glass cases full of rocks, shells and bones. In my museum they’ll be diamond cases instead of glass. The second room was full of stuffed animals, like donkeys and vultures. First room upstairs was filled with human evolution stuff. We all just looked at the picture and stuff since the signs and everything were in Mongolian. Not that there were many signs anyway. Other rooms were filed with Chingus Khan things and a bunch of clothes. And in the middle of the room was a bathtub. But it looked like a huge pot. Last room was filled with different Mongolian artifacts from all different points in time. For example there was an old Mongolian guitar/cello and an old typewriter and guns.
The next day we went to a big tank and statue on the hill. There was also a playground on a hill that all of us were able to enjoy. After some of that we went back to the tank to get a lecture about the town and the tanks and statue. The big tank was from when Mongolia and Japan were fighting. The statue was of a hero during the fight who was wounded but survived and died 1980. He also told us how Gobi has a lot of goats because cashmere has gotten so popular but it’s bad for the land to have so many goats because they eat the land and nothing can grow. Gobi has a lot of mines where they mine oil, copper, gold and 33 other natural resources. 25 thousand people live in this little town. He also told us about how only one tree can grow in the Gobi Desert: the Soxoll tree. Pronounced “socks-hole.” The modern socks hole is also called a laundry machine.
When we drove over to the gur camp we had many stops. Some of the most memorable ones was this place with two rock things and a shrine. It’s a place for women to walk around three times and pour milk on. When we did it you could smell and see the dried milk. Another stop was the meditation caves. Some monks meditated here for 180 days. Kinda like Master Ugai, but he meditates in a cave for 30 years. Anyway said meditating monks did not eat for the last 54 days of meditation. Some of the monks though did not end up making it through it all, some died while in the caves. Although they didn’t think of it as dying but as moving closer to the gods. At the end we had to be reborn by crawling through a hole. You had to crawl in and out face first and it was kinda steep inside. But after you were reborn so it’s okay.
The next day we went to Wish Mountain. The ride was bumpy but kinda like a roller coaster with going up and down the sand dunes. It was fun. We climbed the stairs to the first stop where we wrote down our wishes and burned them. Second part of the climb was to a mountain shrine which we walked around three times and threw rocks on. By the time we walked back down it was close to lunchtime. For lunch we had fried noodles with meat in a nearby gur camp. We also got to try camel meat! It was good and was more flavorful than other meats here.
Today was the last day, sadly, but happily we get to ride camels!!! Once we got there they saddled up three camels to ride. Camels look so weird. Their like chickens but mammals. You sit in between their two humps and don’t fall. It was really fun and funny to watch others. Camels also always look like their smiling with a lot of saliva that is yellow. Them standing up and sitting down is a very weird feeling because you tip forward then straighten out then tip back then straighten out. You’re kinda like a ping pong ball between their humps. It was really cool though. Their fur is also short and smooth.
That was the last activity we did in the Gobi. So sad but a wonderful and memorable experience.