Horse riding, camping and rafting (oh and majorly sore sunburn :()
on Sarah in Mongolia (Mongolia), 27/May/2010 11:25, 34 days ago
So after a day to recuperate from the bus journey I described previously, I headed out to Terelj national park with some friends for an outdoors weekend.On Friday we picked up some horses and did a full day of riding. The views on this trek were absolutely stunning, with the rocks and the new green grass and baby animals abounding. The worst bit was that the poor horses had just survived a tough winter and obviously weren't really up to carrying a group of westerners around for the day. My horse at one point lay down (yes really) while I was on his back! I was rather unimpressed! And when we let them go at lunch time and then tried to catch them again, they tried to flee! So I did feel a bit bad - especially since by the end of the day I thought my horse was going to expire. But we all survived and made it back in one piece (and a local family got some badly needed funds from crazy westerners!). One of the funnier moments was when we had to go around a fence (yes of course in Mongolia the concept of fences is a bit strange) and this involved scaling a slight incline - the boys I was riding with weren't so confident and I had a lot of fun laughing at them!Once we dropped the horses off we met up with the rest of our group and found a great campsite right on the very grassy riverbank. We built a big bonfire and even made smores (gotta love the Americans!). Although the weather during the days here is now consistently in the 20's, the nights get pretty darn cold, so I was very glad for my sleeping bag!In the morning we packed up and headed off to the river. The term rafting (not white water rafting mother!) may have been an exaggeration - we were basically in blow up canoes. It was a great day but the wind made it tough in spots, as did the lack of water meaning I was in and out of the canoe and ended up completely soaked! But it was a whole part of the area near UB I had never seen before, and it was all starting to turn green, so another beautiful day, with some great physical activity. Unfortunately I put my suncream on before I took off my shoes, meaning that my feet and ankles fried. I am not kidding, on Sunday I couldn't walk, and they are still sore today 4 days later. I will not be forgetting the suncream any time soon!What about work? From my past few blog posts you might assume I have been doing none! But no in the last few weeks I have managed 2 half day trainings, a proposal and a whole lot of report writing! I am finishing up my CMTU placement tomorrow, which is both sad and good. Sad because I have really enjoyed the work and the issues, and it has opened my eyes to another area of law. Good because I have very few weeks left in work, and I need to focus on my main placement and finish things up. I think I have about 6 weeks left in placement as I have 6 weeks of holidays and one week of VSO conference the rest of the time. The year has really flown in. I am going to be very sad to leave Mongolia, as I have learnt alot here about development, about myself and about this wonderful country. However I am looking forward to getting back to legal work which this year has clarified is the area I want to work in. And of course I am very much looking forward to catching up with all my friends and family.