December 29th, 2008 – by: nuij
We arrived at UB at the wrong time. Museums were closed on Monday, minus the 2 days we spent at Terejl camp, we couldn't visit the museums on 31 Dec either.
Terejl Camp is not a place to go if you are not the type who can survive with the basic and dislike being alone, especially if you are traveling alone. For some funny reason, I bumped into Ben at UB Guesthouse. I never thought I'll see him again after our quick and hasty good bye at Irkutsk. Our guesthouse shipped the 4 of us to Terejl the next day, with the instruction of bringing a bottle of water and some biscuits. It was really cold at UB, about -17 C when we arrived. Terejl camp was even colder, at -30C.
When we arrived at Terejl, we were ushered into a big tent, equipped with computer, and cable tv. The tent was bright with colourful carpet hanging around, looks warm and lived in. I remember thinking to myself, this is not to bad.
Until I saw our tent.. there's nothing in that tent, except for 5 beds, with 4 sleeping bags, a table and a heater in the middle of the room. There's no tv. No computer. No books. No lights. No running water. Only a flask of tea. And woods for the fire to heat up the tent. Toilet is a shit house. I had to pee there once and I swear I will not step into that shit house again. I rather do it out in the open. Animal poo everywhere... thank goodness for winter, so you can't smell them. But you know it's there. One thing for sure, you have a lot of time to kill. The package comes together with 2 hours horse riding. It was sheer torture to ride in the cold... after 30 minutes... you can't feel your feet anymore. I can barely survived that ordeal. We arrived at the camp around 10 something, horse riding activity at 12pm, lunch served at 2pm and then it's your own free time till dinner at 7pm.
Since we dont' have any lights, we were only given 1 candle, which burns out before 8pm. Most of the time, we sat in the dark talking. Lucky for us, one of my friend has his walkman phone, so we have music to entertain us for short period of time. If you can brave the cold, you can see lots of stars at night. Beautiful. Meals were simple but delicious. When our guesthouse driver came to pick us up the next day, he drop off another guest at the camp, and he's alone. I'm not sure how is he going to survive the camp by himself.. because most of the time, you were left alone by the host. They aren't at the camp most of the time either. But it is a very good experience.
We spent new year's eve with our fellow backpackers at the guesthouse. Around a small table, we shared our experiences traveling around Russia, having a good laugh over it :)