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Arrival in Mongolia! (14/6/04)

The train slowed with the screech of steel as rain dripped down heavily. Then we were still and the sounds pf the station came to life. There were carriages being filled with goods, some elderly people wandering acros the train tracks, and beyond the station the magnificent hills and forest of Mongolia. For a few hours I had been hypnotised by the green rolling steppe, punctuated by gers, horses and camels. A great sense of relief washed over me to be finally seeing the landscape that I will be travelling through. From the train I shouldered ny 40kg backpack, 12 kg backpack and computer case and satellite phone and lumbered onto the platform. (My 35 kg horse tack bag was on the freight carriage!). Within moments I was being bear-hugged by a Mongolian who had lunged at me. It took a few seconds to realise that it was Jarantai, a Mongolian friend who I had met previously and who had visited Australia. Then his sister, Bayara was there with a smile almost as wide as her face. It had been three years since I had been in Mongolia and suddenly I remembered why it had been such a special place for me. The intensity and mass of Beijing seemed only a distant memory. Soon later I was sitting th the family home sipping salty Mongolian tea and talking. Its definitely a relief to be here. Hopefully I will be able to set off after the horses within a week at the latest.....but once again visa headaches look set to be a problem. Lets see. For now i will just enjoy being here.