Day 9: Gobi Cold Camel Expedition
28th Jan 2018
We started the day with a 15km ride across sand dunes, the camels seem tired but I'm more refreshed than ever - must have slept for over 12 hours last night.
Monroe, my blonde camel, is in disgrace and has been returned to the camel herds and another one bought in to replace him. I swapped my fresh camel with one of the guys because his chaffing is so bad, as his camels humps were quite close together!
This camel is massive and has the longest wool which looks like a mane - I name him Kobi the Lion. He's not comfortable at all and spend most of the ride standing in the stirrups.
We met a gorgeous 2-year-old boy at lunch when we stopped in to eat with a herding family. At first we mistake him for a girl and were mortified when Tess translated back he was their youngest son. She then explained it wasn't an insult at all - they intentionally don't trim boys hair until they are three to five years old because centuries ago soldiers would come through and kill all the male children who would grow up to become warriors. Their hair is only cut once they are old enough to fend for themselves in this harsh and rugged landscape.
We talked more and find out she has another child who is 6-years-old. By law he has to attend school but the closest one is 70km away so he lives with his grandparents. They only see him a few months each year during the summer holidays. The western ideals of education don't seem to suit the nomadic life and we can see her struggle being separated from her son. Even the grandparents would normally be in the family Ger in the desert but someone has to look after him while he's at school and it's impossible for them to travel to see him - it would be a four-day return trip by camel.
After lunch we ride about 15km and a wind is blowing. That evening half of our team play knucklebones with the herding family and the rest of us make a Cards Against Humanity game, Gobi styles, and are in hysterics in the Ger reliving some of our favourite - and not so favourite - parts of our time in Mongolia so far. Even the misadventures are making great memories and we're all laughing as we play.
Tomorrow we cross over the snowy mountains and it's bittersweet - we only have two and a half days to go, we're already 220km through our 300km ride retracing this section of the ancient Silk Road for the first time in 90 years.
[This is the ninth update in a 15 part series, if you'd like to follow the rest of my journey in the Gobi Camel Camel Expedition LIKE my page for daily photos and blogs]!