Ulaanbaatar, 23rd July 2007
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We were met at the station by our tour guide, Zobloo, who took us to a nearby hotel for a much needed wash and breakfast. The hotel was run by Japanese so it had a traditional Japanese bath house. There were a few grumbles from those not familiar with this way of washing but being such a seasoned traveller (ha-ha! Well, I have been to Japan at least), I knew exactly what to do, and swiftly stripped off and took my place on one of the little stools that line the shower wall. It was such a relief to have a wash that the British reserve evaporated pretty instantly for those feeling a little shy.
After a fab breakfast and no longer feeling stinky, we headed off on a city walking tour...
Our first stop was Sukhebaatar Square in the centre of the city.
From there we walked down Enkh-Taivany Boulevard, or Peace Avenue as it’s otherwise known, to visit the Great Temple at the Gandah Monastery. On route, we passed a man sitting on the side of the street with a telephone in his lap....initial thought...just some crazy local with a perhaps unhealthy attachment to his telephone but then a local approached him, passed him some money and started to make a call. We quickly realised this was Mongolia’s answer to a public telephone! Quite surreal!
The Great Temple is a site worth seeing in Ulaanbaatar.
We then started to walk back towards the square in the now hardcore heat, stopping off in a bank along the way to allow some of the group to change some money. Lunch was next on the agenda.... Strangely we were taken to a Western restaurant. Not the experience we were expecting or wanting but hey hoe, at least it had air con and cold beer so Lady Liz was happy!
After lunch we took a transfer to our Ger camp at a place called Elstei, which is 1.5 hours outside of the city...