3Nations: Day On Site

If you're new to the blog then feel free to back to the start of the 3Nations posts, they are all linked on the Expedition page.

Monday 20th July 2009

So it's the first day of activities in Mongolia, in a rather full program... so, what does my aravt have...

*looks up timetable*

... a day off. cool.

Well, a day to relax and get into the laid back Mongolian way of life is a rather good way to start off any expedition. And as we're being laid back we were able to get a lie in, which was very welcome after all the traveling and setting up the site yesterday.

Our first traditional Mongolian activity was stitching, initially they were only going to teach this to the girls of the group... until Dan managed to convince them that the guys should have a go too.

Some of the guys, unfortunately, lived up to the poor expectations of the girl teaching it!

After our bit of stitching we got to try some Mongolian writing, which if I am honest is really difficult. First you have to change the word to the Cyrillic alphabet and then into the Mongolian... which has three different forms for the letters (start middle and end).
File:Mongol khel.svg
It means Mongol by the way
If you want to try it then you can find tables with the letters on wikipedia.

And now, for the laid back nature of this part of the trip, a four hour lunch! I wonder if I could sell this concept to the office?

Eventually we tried the some of the Mongolian music. In total we had three things to try... the horse-head fiddle, the flute and some throat singing.

First off the fiddle.

and yes... that is me trying it



As you can see from the picture above, instead of holding it under your chin, you hold it between your legs. The bow hand actually holds the bow strings tight and the other hand presses the strings. But again it's different from our fiddles, there are only two strings and instead of pressing them into the wood you have to press them across... which makes it really difficult as you have to match the pressure with the bow for the sound to sound right. And even then sometimes your fingers go over the strings and other times then go underneath!

Fortunately I wasn't actually that terrible at it! But what i really wanted to try was the flute. I used to play it in school so I should easily be able to play it, all I would have to do is work out the new fingering right....

... right?

I couldn't even make a sound out of it!

Right sod it, I'll try the throat singing.

*gargle without water sound*
*cough, splutter...

wait a minute, what did he just say? "if you practice this wrong then your throat will bleed" Ok, maybe I'll just leave that to the Mongolians...

... crazy b******* (edited for any younger readers- its crazy bananas by the way... just to let you know, honest)

Here's some people that actually know what they are doing!

Lessons learned today...
  • The badger can be buried
  • Some Mongolians also know some pretty filthy phrases in English
  • The program can and will change
  • Unfortunately the badger is like a pheonix and can rise from the dead... either that or its zombie badger. I don't know what is worse.
 Thanks again for those I borrowed photos from