Monday, 4 October 2010

run to the hills

The snow has gone from Ulaanbaatar and temperatures have crept back up a tad so I am taking advantage and heading outdoors as often as possible. This morning I went into the hills near my apartment on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar. I was in search of a shamen shrine I had noticed the last time I was on the hills.

The hills here are all roughly the same height at 700m which takes me safely over 2,000m above sea level. The hills are all also exceedingly steep. Medical practitioners may say otherwise but phsical exertion at this altitude does have an impact on breathing. I can usually manage simple things like getting up a wee hill with no problem; this morning I saw stars and had to rest with ridiculous frequency. I got to the top though.

From there the view spreads across the Steppe encompassing the whole of Ulaanbaatar. To the east the valley winds up towards Terelj, to the west the Steppe widens into the horizon. Traversing the hillside I finally found the shrine I had been seeking. It was busy for a Monday morning, not only were there various shamen, a few random cows were wondering what all the fuss was about.

There were three different shamen plying their wares today. It was a little like Shamen Factor or Shaman's Got Talent. Each was trying to outdo the other. Banging drums louder, clashing cymbals with more gusto, chanting more erratically, swaying more pendulously. It was quite an event. I am now raring to get my own shaman rendezvous arranged. I like gravity; the walk home downhill is always easier.

Mongolian of the day:- blue :: nomin