On the way to our new site Undurkhan Kentii...which is still about 220 km away from Ulaanbaatar. It doesn’t seem like a far distance yet it’s another world in the back country. The dirt road system is so bad that it could take days to get back to UB. On the way to Undurkhan we stop and visit a few members' Gers and are treated with the traditional milk tea which is one speck of black tea in warm milk. Yuk… I take a few sips and decide that I have become lactose intolerant for the rest of my stay in Mongolia.
The gers are really cool. All of the ones I have been to have flat screen TV’s, satellite dishes and generators or power that they take directly from a power pole. They all have computers and cell phones. It’s so weird as they seem to still do so many things in the traditional way and prefer their gers over wooded structures. Cow dung is stacked and drying next to the ger as it will be used as a heat source by burning it in the winter.
We make our way to the next Ger and this time I get to ride the owner's horse. This horse seems really small when you are on it. They are really nice to ride and have a smooth gait. Now I have ridden a horse in Mongolia. Not many people can say that.
I’m also treated to some of the social programs this Credit Union is doing. One is water conservation. We stop at a corral-like structure surrounding a small amount of water. It’s a natural spring and the water comes up from the ground in a small amount. It provides a water source to all the herder families in the area. It has to be protected from the animals as they will trample it down to a mud pit.
We arrive in Undurkhan and see an actual 'hotel' sign. We check into our adjoining rooms with a shared toilet. Ken and I still have to share a room but at least we have a room for Mongo. However a shower is only available at the public shower house. The shower room turns out to be a real treat. It’s absolutely spotless and disinfected after each use. It’s the best hot shower I can remember having.
Clean and fed, we return to our room and people keep poking their heads in. I try to lock it but there's no lock on the exterior door. Later the housekeeper comes by and lets us know that the hotel is full and our water closet is the main one for the hotel. She then hands us a padlock key for the toilet and locks our bedroom doors. All night long and all morning it was a steady parade of people using our so-called sink. I finally get out of bed, open the door between our adjoining rooms to get to the water closet and find her outside my door. I’m just in my undershorts, but she had no issues with that and takes my hand leading me to the sink to show me how clean and shiny she has kept it. So I wash my face and then go over to the toilet room. She unlocks it for me, throws a bucket of water into the toilet and flushes. Then she lets me in and points to how clean it is. She then shows me the incense and matches and shuts the door. I then realize she must have been outside my door all night guiding each person through the same ritual and cleaning after each one. That’s why it was so noisy.
-- Bruno Dragani