25-Aug-2004 -- After an open day on one of our project farms the tradition is to have a small closing dinner. In the right season this is often a Khokhog
. Khokhog is made by pressure cooking the meat of a sheep in a milk churn over an open fire. The churn may also contain some begetable and herbs. The cooking process is given a kick start by adding several stones to the churn. The stones are very hot, having been heated in the fire previously. Of course the meat is accompanied by vodka and toasts to good harvests, friendship……
Well, by the time this process was complete it was 7 o’clock and we had planned to visit 49N92E in the evening. The CP was 100 km away and we made good time but were losing the battle against darkness. The point is almost on the main road from Khovd to Ulaangom and we arrived at 9.15, 25 minutes after sunset. With overcast skies and a little snow we took the photographs and retired to the nearby village for a cup of tea.
The journey back to Ulaangom involved a detour. In the dark with many earth roads it is not always easy to stay on the right one. By the time GPS was called in to adjudicate we were 9km adrift. No problem, just point the jeep in the correct direction and go! A land without fences has its advantages. We eventually got back at 1.30am and fell into bed.
The photographs of the site are the main worry – will they be accepted by the “all powerful – no-appeal-to-higher-authorities” confluence site organiser. Only time will tell if this is a "success" or an "incomplete". We will have to wait a week (when we return to Ulaanbaatar) to submit the visit and find out, as the there is no electricity in the western region of Mongolia. The electricity is supplied from Russia and when the unpaid bill gets too high they simply pull out the plug!! Too bad if you want to recharge a battery or use an internet cafe.
Two other photos of gathering cranes and haymaking are included.
Coordinator's Note: Unfortunately the pictures turned out too dark to show what it looks like at this confluence…the goal of the project.