Mongolia’s borders have been closed for several months now, as part of the world’s most successful and pre-emptive response to the global pandemic, with zero local community transmissions and zero deaths. However, the economic cost of such counter-Covid measures has been high, and this has been felt most of all by the tourism sector. However, every cloud has a silver lining – and our team of guides, drivers, and office staff have been making the most of their enforced sabbatical, in many different and interesting ways. Take a look at a what they have been up to below.
Our guides Byamba and Batmonkh have been putting their skills to other uses during the past few months. Byamba has been involved in the country’s parliamentary election campaign promotional activities, and even played a role in TV commercial! In his spare time he has been learning computer coding. Let’s just hope he returns to guiding next year! Meanwhile Batmonkh has been drawing on his extensive guiding experience and knowledge, teaching history and archeology to new guide recruits, ready for next year.
Out & About
Our Office Manager and Reservations Manager, Tuul and Zolo, teamed up with our wonderful guide Tseegi to take a well-earned trip out to Uvs Province in the far West of Mongolia, and enjoyed time in the Kharkhiraa and Turgen Mountains as well as by Khar Us Lake. Tseegi told us “Since, all tourist attractions in the country are open for domestic guests, despite the international border being closed, I am trying to travel as much as I can, and exploring my own country more!”
Well, for some people, this enforced period of non-activity came at a fortuitous time – 3 new babies amongst our current and former staff has kept them busy, and also enabled them to spend more time with their families at home. Bayaraa experienced a ‘facemask’ birth (albeit in Germany, not in Mongolia), Hashi’s wife finally added a girl to their brood of 3 boys, and Khulan had a baby boy, who as you can see is already fond of a bit of fatty sheep tail! The ultimate yummy dummy. All three of them are doing well, and Hashi says “I’m noticing things that I have never noticed before and also understand the role of a mother much better. I feel how difficult it is and I understand the value of every moment. People have learned to be patient.“
Many of you will know Esee, either as a guide or as host and owner of Tuultiin Tokhoi ger camp on the banks of the Delger River in Khovsgol. Together with his wife Moogi and their 4 kids they have been busy this summer doing lots of improvements around their camp, and learning new skills. Focusing on the domestic traveller, who are always fond of a bit of cue action, they have installed 2 pool tables on the outside veranda, and they have rebuilt a larger greenhouse to supply their own produce for the kitchen. Their elder son Tuvshintogs has been helping with tree planting around the edge of their camp, whilst young Tuvshintor has been training as a bareback jockey for the local annual Naadam Festival horse race. So, just a quiet summer in Mongolia then…….