Wednesday, 11 August 2010

two humps good; one hump bad in Mongolia

Today I went trekking in the mountains outside Ulaanbaatar with friends. Hiking with a difference. Rather than getting sore legs, the pain was a little higher in a rumpier zone. Today we were hanging with the Mongolian bactrians.

Alice, Billy, Bob and their friends can live happily in the adverse Steppe conditions. Their two humps, as opposed to one-humped Arabian cousins, are water carriers. Alice told me that a droopy hump means she's thirsty. She can consume 30 gallons of water in 13 minutes. Like their cousins Alice and co's nostrils close and they primp their eyelashes to keep out the sand.

Alice was a good lass. She informed me that bactrians are the only truly wild camels left. She looked forelorn as she said they were a dying breed with only some 1,000 left roaming mostly in Mongolia. She did finish on an optimistic note telling me that some of the larger commercial projects, including Oyu Tolgoi mine, are looking at ways of preserving, conserving and increasing the bactrian population. She shed a tear and we parted lifelong friends (though I doubt she'll ever write to me). She suggested a long hot bath to recover from her rocky movements.

Mongolian of the day:- camel :: temee