DAYS TO REMEMBER
Written by N.Suvdaa
Thursday, September 27, 2007 issue of UB POST.
THIS was something different for tourists. The 60 or so
people from various countries who were there at Aygiin Am
in Bayandelger soum, Tuv aimag for the annual Nomads'
on September 17 and 18, would wholeheartedly
agree. The organizer of the two- day event was Selena Travel
Company and this was the third year that it was being held.
The first day saw several non-competitive events where nomadic
people presented their traditional culture and music. It
was fitting that the day was very windy as the tourists
got to realize how harsh the weather conditions usually
are for nomadic herders.
An extraordinary range of skills was on display. Riders
caught roaming horses with lassos, picked up things while
riding on a galloping horse, showed how a horse is broken
in, described the different ways to count sheep, showed
how camel wool is made into strands. It was shown how hard
existence could be on a daily basis. Children played a game
in which they had to guess how many anklebones someone had
in their hands. The prize for the winning team was an invitation
to the "Chinggis Khaan's meal" on the last day
of the event. That final day also saw a riding contest for
couples. A mini Naadam was organized and Mongolian cuisine
was offered. On the first day tourists took part in setting
up a ger, and learnt the proper way to greet someone with
Mongolian dairy products. There were contests for them to
show the skills they had learnt, such as putting up part
of a ger wall, picking cowpats from the steppe, and saddling
a horse. A team with Swiss tourists was the best of the
six teams who joined in this.
This annual festival gives a chance to those who come to
Mongolia too late for the annual Naadam to see what they
missed. They also get to see nomadic life from close quarters.
According to an organizer they have to cater to two types
of tourists. Usually those from the USA and Europe want
to taste the adventures that mark nomadic life, while Asian
tourists generally want to relax and demand comfort.