Mongolian Vegemite

One of my very considerate and hospitable work colleagues generously gave this to me on Friday afternoon.

Not sure what it is? See if you can guess.

I was with Jess (aka the newest and arguably biggest Shantasia fan – love your work Jess!).

After some egging on from our Mongolian co-workers, we thought “why the hell not?”, cracked it open and… well… the results were not pretty:

It didn't take us long to figure out this was not going to be a fun experience...

Here goes nothing...

Down the hatch....

Please don't throw up there Jess...

Please don't throw up there Jess... you're right near my laptop... I don't know how I would explain that to IT

And she's off... "to get water"

Meanwhile, while I was wetting my pants with laughter and just to prove that we hadn't been set up by our Mongolian colleagues, I asked Tuul to take a swig. She drank it like a champion... she is clearly CRAZY!

You would think that after Jess’ reaction, that I wouldn’t be stupid enough to drink it. But I’m not the brightest, so I gave it a try. Maybe not my finest look, but it kinda sums it up…

So what was it?

No, it wasn’t Airag (fermented mare’s milk) as I suspect many of you have guessed. I actually am yet to try this local delight (Batbold and Uyanga this is NOT an invitation for you to give me some next time I see you guys!).

It was camel’s milk. And to be fair, it kind of tasted like cow’s milk… that had been in the fridge for about four weeks… and then left in the sun for two days.

When you think about it, it’s kinda like Vegemite… if you don’t grow up with it then you think the locals are nuts for loving it.

Radio star

It’s been a few years since I’ve been in a radio studio… It sure was fun putting on the ‘cans’ again when I did a voice over for a project at work last week. We went to a local UB radio station – apparently a well known one, and quite popular. You can call me the “voice of OT”… a small fee for autograph requests will apply…

Oh hi, how are you?!

A couple of Sundays ago, my friend Emma thought it would be nice to take our city dwelling friends (Sydney, Melbourne, London) into the wilds of Mongolia on a horse riding adventure.

These are the types of photos you should be seeing in this post…

(FYI: This stunning photo is of my friend Susie. I stole it from her very awesome blog. Well worth a read, especially now that she’s just put up her Eagle Festival pix.)

… but instead of photos like the above, you get this:

Now, there were several things that happened on this particular day that maybe we should have taken as signs to turn back. Like, the only available coffee was in a can and would make our “heart sweet”.

But soon after the shot of Mike and Kai looking under the bonnet (or hood, if you’re American), they proudly announced they were able to “override the problem”. Hmm… again, some of you may have taken this as a sign… but not us, oh no, we are stupid fearless foreigners.

So onward we went, which was great, as it allowed me to take this great photo:

This is where the car decided to die completely. Pretty much in the middle of Mongolia (read: nowhere).

Now, it’s not all bad news, as I am here to write the blog entry. And, we were travelling in two cars, with wine and snacks.

So we didn’t go horse riding, big deal! There were other highlights of the day, and I’ll do my best to capture them here:

  • The city slickers ran into the little shop in the middle of nowhere to see if they coud get a latte or cappucino.
  • After the boys fixed the first problem, Jess, the Melbournite, asked: “Does anyone consider it a risk that our brake lights don’t work?” To which the Queenslanders responded, “nah, she’ll be right, mate, in fact, we’re pretty sure that working brake lights just confuses the locals!”.
  • Emma and I could see Dasha, the sick-as-a-dog Sydney-sider, tearing out of the broken down car and up to us in the second car. When she got in, she told us another great solution had been put forward… it involved reversing the car really quickly and slamming on the brakes so the brake pads would realign. My guess is that’s why the car died completely.
  • In our convoy of two cars filled with stupid round-eyes, we took a wrong turn and ended up in a small Mongolian military town.
  • Mike screamed like a girl when we almost had a head on (but don’t worry Mum, because we didn’t crash).
  • Oh yeah, and on the way back into town, we got pulled over by the cops. The last time this happened to Mike, they suspended his Mongolian license. So he was a little stressed. Even more stressed when he couldn’t find his wallet which had his license and Alien Registration card in it. Good news, it was underneath a pile of beanies, and gloves, and scarves in the front seat. Even better news, he got to keep his license. What’s so funny about this, you ask? As the cop handed back his documents, and nodded for us to go, Mike graciously said “sain baina uu!”. This caused the cop to lower and shake his head, and mutter something which I swear was “idiot!”. You see, “sain baina uu” does not mean¬† “thank you”, or “good bye”, or “cheers mate, I really appreciate you going easy on me” but more like… “oh hi!¬† good to see you! how are you? are you keeping well?”.

So on that note, there really is only one thing left to say: sain baina uu!