I was dreaming about Mongolia for years. I imagined wild horses running in huge steppes, Mongolians wearing traditional clothes and living in harmony with nature, and beautiful landscapes with some gers and sheeps. So… when I arrived at Ulaanbaatar, I didn’t really like it… I saw amount of cars horning in a noisy concerto, big decrepit buildings and factories smoking in the middle of the city. The coldest capitale in the world didn’t seem very welcoming…
Then, quickly, there was Gobi. Six days far from the city, in the desert. We drove hours and hours, on bumpy roads, in the midst of nothing, this nothing so intense and so beautiful, that make you feel so small, and have big feelings. We crossed incredible landscapes. Pure, dry, powerful. We saw a lot of camels, horses, goats and sheeps, but few humans. We were in an other world, the one of sand and stars. In Gobi nights, it’s the entire universe that appears, and this impression to move in. Until that the cold, in the early morning, wake you up in the rough reality, when the central oven didn’t warm the dreams anymore. This reality of nomads, without running water and toilets, and only some electricity for the television.
If there was not this Chinese visa to obtain first, I would have probably left after those ten days, in this contrast between a beautiful Mongolia and an inhospitable capitale. But the best was yet to come. And I would have never knew that. Ulaanbaatar is a capitale that you have to tame. You can’t visit it – there is kind of nothing to visit in fact – but you should live it through its traditions and modernism. In the streets, monks are next to elderly people in traditional clothes and fashion young people. It’s crowded in temples and in malls. It’s a rare mix of old and new, and tolerance.
So, I lived. Probably not like them, but at least in the midst of them. I discovered Buddhism and meditation, I watched a local movie in the neighborhood’s theater, I spent hours in coffee shops with students, I took part at a shaman ceremony, I went to the post office and to the dentist, in contemporary art galeries, and I tried to understand history. Finally, I do appreciate this culture, this diversity and this city that became kind of my home for a month.
At the hazard of meetings, great travel friendships raised. To offer fresh air to our breast, we left all together direction Kharkhorin, the old capitale at the time of Chenggis Khan. In the local bus where even the smallest space was used, we were already amazed by these new landscapes of mountains. The same evening, we saw at the top of the hill, a fairy sunset, all in pink colors. But the best surprise was the next day morning. Thousands of snowflakes sparkling everywhere. Everything was white. We walked close to a waterfall and we hiked until a monastery up to a cliff. The feet in the snow, and the head in the clouds, in a background of winter tale. It was like a dream.
Finally, in four weeks in Mongolian land, I had the impression to see all the seasons of a year. But for sure, the biggest journey was in my heart. And it’s summer in.