Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A moment of freedom in the giant plain

Encounters of a nomad
Then, we take the road towards another place farther from the city. It’s a little far and, of course, I fall asleep. I wake up in front of a yurt that is the same as the first and enjoy a cup of tea. Next to me there’s a little girl covered in mosquito bites and scratching them, and since before leaving mom bought us plenty of cream against insect bites, I show her how to use it and give it to her. Dad is having a discussion when I go outside for a stroll and bump into Harry our interpreter. We both go towards the lake that seems to be a 10-minute walk but in fact is a 45-minute walk. I arrive in front of the lake and begin to walk around it when suddenly I feel as though I’m sinking. I look at my feet, they’re stuck in a mix of sand and mud, so I get out, take off my shoes and begin to walk in the water. Since I see that it’s deep, I prefer to take out my papers and cell phone from my pocket and give them to Harry. I was lucky because my next step soaks me up to my navel. So I get back out. After rinsing myself off thoroughly, I take my things and come back with Harry. Harry is a high school English teacher. He has a son who will go to Harbin to study mechanics. We finally arrive at the yurt where everyone is waiting for us to do souvenir photos. The yurt’s inhabitants are dressed in Mongolian clothes and I climb on a horse. I start to gallop when they call me to come eat. I go in to eat a Mongolian noodle soup. Frankly, I prefer the Chinese noodles because they are less starchy. Then, I go back to ride the horse while dad and Ayin take the car to see the lake. I join them on horseback. Since they are at the other end of the lake, I take the horse and go in the water to meet them. I get off the horse to be with the others and tie my horse so that he doesn’t leave me. Ayin offers me a piece of watermelon that I gladly accept and I’m happy because dad says I’m a good rider. Since Ayin’s daughter would like to ride the horse, her father puts her on the horse’s back while I hold him. In the lake, I find a frog and pick it up. Since Atchin, Ayin’s daughter doesn’t like it, to joke around I put it on her shoulder and she screams. Then dad, Ayin, Harry and Atchin take the car to go up the mountain and I go by horseback, but it’s a nightmare because the horse stops every five meters to eat. I take an hour to go make it up the mountain. I go around the place of pilgrimage and since I’m thirsty, I drink the orange juice Ayin’s daughter hands me. Then, I go back down the mountain. It’s faster. The problem is that there’s barrier that keeps us from passing. The horse won’t jump. I am disappointed. I get off the horse and open the barrier so that the horse can go through. We arrive in front of a lake and instead of going around it, I go in the water with the horse, it’s magnificent. I bring him to his barrier, tie him up and say goodbye. I turn around on my way to the car when I hear the two horses scream. They are fighting so the people from the yurt separate them and it’s better. We thank them for their hospitality and go to a restaurant where Ayin’s wife is waiting for us. At the end of the meal, dad pretends to go to the bathroom in order to pay the bill, but since Ayin knows the trick, he dashes to the cash register to pay and refuses dad’s offer to pay. Since we are now tired, we go back to the hotel and sleep. Today, we were far from the cities and so close to nature. I didn’t think I’d be this capable of riding a horse. Maybe it’s going to make me dream.

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