dancing geese, daylight robbery, and falling off a horse
on Catherine Dupre (Mongolia), 19/Sep/2010 09:35, 34 days ago
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Soooo, whats been happening.......Well, UB has been the usual crazy noisy dust bucket it always is, thought the weather has been nice still, slowly dropping, during the day it was still sunny in the 20's, but every evening got that bit colder. Its coats and proper shoes time now.  But what a scorching summer, I am almost looking forward to the chill, though I must remember to set aside an extra ten minutes for getting dressed in the morning.So last weekend I went to the CIRCUS!  It was a much anticipated event, there was a buzz about it in the city.  Mongolians LOVE spectacle, pomp and ceremony, and it was hard no tot get caught up in the excitement as we took our places in line, clutching our tickets, which were not cheap at 8000₮ but came gaudily decorated with photos of the many wonders that were in store for us, acrobats, clowns (eurgh), bears and - er - geese.....Our glee was soon quashed though; the main doors of the circus opened, and we braced ourselves for a forward surge as people pushed to get in and get seats, but none came, some mongolian was being spoken at the front, and the crowd visibly sagged and began to disperse.  what??Luckily one of our mongolian colleagues was in the queue, and had spotted us, she came over to tll us that since the animals for the circus had been detained at the border, the show was being postponed.... yeah, so, thats several hours by car away, yet you let us all stand around until 5 minutes before the show was due to start, for what? hoping for a miracle?Anyway, our tickets were good for the next day, so 24 hours later there we were agian and this time it was the real deal.  And what a show.  First there was a gang of acrobats in the most bizarre costumes doing crazy tricks with a jump rope, then hula girls, contortionists, dancing geese - yes, DANCING GEESE! They were amazing, my new crush (shh, dont tell camels).  Then trapeze artists, and then some truly terrifying stunts done by young men, seesaws and sticks, cant explain it, but it gave me conniptions.  Then a strong man, who my word, was STRONG.  All this was interspersed with clowns who I wont talk about as I dont agree with clowns.Then, the finale....the moment I later felt deeply ashamed of looking forward to so much....the bears.  It was awful.  the poor poor bears.  I had got so excited at teh thought of seeing a real one in real life, that I spared no thought for the reality of the situation.  It was just painful to watch.  There were three bears, and their fear, distaste, discomfort and sheer despair were palpable.  the mongolians whooped and cheered, waving their glow sticks with wild abandon, us westerners sat aghast, hands over mouths, horrified at what we were witnessing.Anyway, I wont go on about it, suffice it to say that I am now a campaigner for getting performing bears banned.So, the next day was a scorcher, and I was strolling through town in my floaty dress, one last time to wear it.  Now, I am usually hyper alert about my belonings, I cant afford ot lose anything, and I am deeply attached to my things, however, while crossing a busy road, my attention was more on not getting run over than it was about guarding my bag, and having just been to a shop, stupidly, my wallet was at the top of the bag, well, not for long it wasnt, as a little artful dodger went and nicked it.  I felt him do it, but as I turned around and grabbed him he made a hulabaloo, in hindsigh I realise this was to distract me form the fact that he was swiftly passing my wallet to his colleague, twisty, so no matter how much I shouted at him and shook him and pinched him that was it, my wallet, and all the money I had - gone.So that fair took the wind out of my sails I tell you.  I was heading for an energy crash anyway, and have spent the last week being ill, flopping around incapable of doing anyhting but feel sorry for myself.  In the midst of the misery was a ray of light in the form of a skype with home, meeting my newest nephew for the first time, a gorgeous scrumptious, beautiful baby boy, who made me want to stick my face into the internet to eat him all up.I even missed the quiz, THAT is how ill i was.So, today is sunday, and I was convinced by friends to come along on a horseriding trip, country air to blow away the bug.  It was good, bu u u u t ... i was given the most psychotic horse, and the most annoying saddle and stirrups.the stirrups were tied together under the horse, so i had no ease of movement, and right form the get go I could feel that this horse was mental.  He bolted almost as soon as we set off.  Now, I am cool with galloping, since my first foray with riding here I have done a lot more and got very confident on a horse, so I wasnt worried, until I realsied that the horse was not runnin gfor pleasure or exercise, it was properly bolting.  I also realised that my feet had become stuck in the stirrups, so if he tried ot throw me I was in deep trouble....and I ALSO realised that he didnt care how hard I pulle don the reins, he was not stopping, and he didnt seem to be looking where he was going, so one trip on a marmot hole or loose stone, of which there are multitudes, and I was going to be cut into a rather easy two peice jigsaw....Through divine intervention or runnign out of puff, he finally came to a halt, and cursing I began to try to free my feet.  I managed ot get one out, but it had been stuck so tight, and I had such little leeway, that as i pulle dit out, the final release resulted in a kick back into the horses side, which sent him off again - oh f*ck.That time was ok too, as he got distracted by a water hole, and I was able ot gently free my other foot.  The rest of the gang caught up, and I complained to the horse man, who undid the rope that had been tying my stirrups together, and, as it turned out, pre-emptively saving my life.So, after that it was much more comfortable, and my horse seemed content to walk with the herd, which was really cool, being on the steppe, in the sunshine, with a cool breeze in my hair, atop a horse, amid many horses, this is how I love to ride.Closer to home, with the camp in sight, horsie stopped to graze, and I saw this as my chance to put my jacket back on, having taken it off earlier while we were in the midday sun.  I was moving as gently as possible, and seriously, I have made far more jerky or sudden movements on a horse before, but this one must have sensed I wasnt hodling on properly, and took his chance to bolt again.  And this time he threw me.  It is a funny feeling, realising you are about ot fall off a horse that is galloping - for a split second I considered making the effort to stay on, but to be honest by now I was sick of this recalcitrant beast, and was glad of the excuse to jump ship. So jump/fall I did, like, according to eyewitnesses, a stunt woman (curtsy).  horse streaking of into the distance, I was glad I wasnt still on it.  Up I bounced, lit a rollie, and reassured my fellow riders of my physical integrity.The horse man brought the horse back, and back I got on it, and this time kept him on a tight rein and led him back to the tether.  But that was me, knackered, and pissed off.  So after a hearty lunch in the chill wind, I wasnt reeeeally up for another ride, but I got a different horse, which was nuts in a different way, and had a wee trot for a bit, but my heart wasnt in it, so when th horse decided it had had enough, I didnt argue.So, here I sit, bruised, thinking of having a beer this evening and then going home for an early night with one of the movies I downloaded.  Bayarte.