I owe you a report about a few other places we visited during our countryside stay. Once you leave the capital travelling can be difficult. On rainy days it’s not a good idea to set off especially by a modern car, or worse, by a bus constructed for city roads. Being a group we used a bus throughout the journey and it had its drawbacks. At the same time it revealed things that otherwise might have stayed hidden. And last but not least it was far more adventurous! Despite leaving the camp only on sunny days the previous rainy weather made the roads muddy and unsuitable for heavy vehicles. Not once we got stuck in the mud for an hour or two and one time for the whole day so we had to be transported on by an open van. When I use the word road I do not mean the usual built roads we are used to in the cities. In many parts of the Mongolian countryside there are only dirt roads. Locals exactly know which one is suitable in given weather or season for what kind of vehicles.
One thing that was striking during the trips and that I still cannot stop thinking about was the difference in problem solving of the east and the west. The group consisted of people from countries like the U.S., Australia, Germany, China, Japan, Inner Mongolia and a few more. When the bus got stuck in the mud the very first people who got off the bus after our teachers were the Inner Mongolian guys. They did it each and every time without being summoned. However, never I saw Western guys jumping off and getting in the thick of the fray. By western I mean people who come from a country long ago equipped by all things we identify with modern life so not only the U.S and Germany but Japan as well. On one occasion, our teacher said ‘Men! Get off and help!’ Guess who moved. One American guy asked back ‘Why men? It’s sexism.’ Well, that’s an attitude too. What I am trying to say here is that we in the West are so extremely spoilt that for every situation we have someone who can solve our problems and we become paralized when we personally should do something for ourselves. It doesn’t even cross our mind that we are able to use our body for physical work too. Of course I slightly generalize I know but I experience it more and more often that we leave the dirty job for others. We pay attention to developing mind and spirit but in the process we tend to lose so many valuable skills and we lose our ties to reality.
Our first such challenging trip lead us to Khanui river of the Khangai mountains in central Mongolia. It starts at the Khan-öndör mountain and flows 421 km long. The river ends in Khutag-öndör district of Bulgan province where it discharges into the Selenge, an other very important river of Mongolia, that river flows straight into Lake Baikal.
What a beautiful place it is! People flock here for healing because the river’s water is considered to heal certain illnesses. Each spring, of which are many, is believed to cure this or that body part. You either lie on the rocks that surround the little source, you drink from the water or wash your head in it and pray for healing. One source will cure heart diseases, others your ears, nose or throat. There is one for your lung, your spine, your stomach but you can balance your energy as well. Whatever your belief system is the energy of the Mongolian countryside is undeniable and perceptible for everyone. I don’t think it’s possible to show or make it felt through images, it would be trying even for professional photographers but for want of better I hope you will like my photos too.