Trans Siberian Railroad: Mongolia

Sunrise over The Gobi Desert. So delicious, more like the Gobi Dessert. Serve With Coffee.

Since life on the train was the same through Mongolia, I won’t be wasting any more words talking about the experience here.  Rather, I’ll use this space for pictures to show you what Mongolia was like, which will really say it better anyways than I ever could.  On a level, it is somewhat ironic that in a fellowship, which I have set out to study how bicycles are used by people, has taken me now to the two least population dense countries in the world (the other being Namibia).  Nonetheless, transportation here more than perhaps anywhere else is of vital importance, in that to live in this berran and inhospitable lunar landscape you have to be, as my Grandma reprimanded me once for being, “a god-damned nomad.”  So, here are the pictures, and enjoy, but before you go any further, I sugest you look at these photos while listening to your favorite train song.  While a toughie, I’d have to recommend ‘Slow Train’ by Solomon Burke.


Trans Mongolian Bar Car: The Greatest Bar Ever? Judge From the Following Photos.

Even more so than Namibia, traveling through here you can't help but wonder how people actually live here. Plants can't even live here, for Pete's sake.

A little more south, a little latter in the day, the snow is gone but not the cold.  We are thoroughly into the Gobi.  As far as I could see there ain’t no roads in Mongolia, so the VERY rare driver just drives paralel to the train in order to not get lost in the nothing.  It is odd, disconcerting, and rewarding, like watching the filming to an action movie, seeing a semi going 80 mph off road running over bushes and getting occasionally semi-air-born.  Other “god-damned nomads”, only these ones had some pretty sweet yurts, especially compared to my backpack which still smells of the avocado and shampoo that it was marinated in the Mozambican sun.  Close up of another yurt near the railway.  Have to presume they move near the railway / impromptu roadway to meet cars, because it would otherwise be near impossible to find anyone in the Gobi. 

Mongolia: Wild Horses couldn't drag me away. According to a biologist onboard these wild stallions are the "rarest wild horses in the world" and because they live in the Gobi they are short and fat, like hershey kisses with hooves.

Spent a long time trying to figure out what these frequently occurring mounds were from.  My best guess?  Ever seen Bugs Bunny?  It looks like the holes Elmer Fudd stands outside of pointing his riffle.  After I pointed this out, the bar car just started calling them “waskly wabbits.”  And Then we figured out what was causing the “wascally wabbits”…  Yeah!  Wild camels!  And ain’t they a beautiful sight?  (for the record, I still have no clue what was causing those mounds).

My humps. My humps.

And with some quick frisbee at a stop…

and then it was a quick Mongolian sunset...

...and then it was into China the next day...

...and onto Beijing. THE END


About benlownik

I'm a Watson Fellow who will be essentially studying how bicycles help people around the world. This is about what I am learning, my journey, and discoveries. Read on!
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5 Responses to Trans Siberian Railroad: Mongolia

  1. Scott Knickelbine says:

    Oh my god Ben . . . the Chinese are starting to wear ballcaps? This changes everything!

  2. Carlyn Pruess says:

    The semis following parallel to the train on rough terrain, the stocky wild horses, and wild camels—surreal indeed!

  3. G & G Brunker says:

    To My Dear G.allant D.elightful Nomad:

    The Gobi is indeed barren and deserted, except for the wild horses and camels which leads me to wonder what on earth they eat? I know! They nibble on the yurts! Awesome photos & wonderful captions which educate so many of us! Thank you!
    Love from your GDG

  4. Dr. S. says:

    “Freight Train Boogie” – Willie Nelson

  5. Vesa says:

    Hey Ben!
    Hope everything is ok with you! I just found your card in my wallet and thought I’d come say that it was nice checking out the wascally wabbit holes with ya! 🙂


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