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Gazelles and Felt-Making

Thursday 7th July

Not long after setting off from Jurchin Gobi camp for Khongoryn Els, we spotted a gazelle (the more common Mongolian or white-tailed gazelle Procapra gutturosa). Gana set off after it at once — it was open desert, so that was bumpy but not dangerous — and doing 80km/hr managed to catch up to it. Of course I had the wrong lens on the camera, but shooting from a vehicle moving fast over bumpy rocks wasn't ever going to give me a good photo.

Soon afterwards a group of nearly a dozen gazelle cut diagonally across the road in front of us. Again my closeups were all blurred.

fleeing gazelle
a dead camel

We stopped at an isolated ger a few kilometres out of Bulgan. The only occupant was a teenage girl on her summer holiday — she was watching television or a DVD while her grandmother and cousin were out herding goats. But she held the dog off us and invited us in and served us dairy snacks.

a girl, a dog, a ger

We stopped in Bulgan for petrol and a quick look at the spring, but didn't see anything else of the town.

At one point Gana stopped to show us a lizard - how he spotted it while driving I don't know, but he stopped, got out of the van, chased around, and next thing there was a lizard sitting there in front of us.

Our longest stop was at a small settlement around a well, where they were in the middle of felt-making — we pulled up just as the felt roll was being unhitched from the back of the 4WD that had been pulling it backwards and forwards. There were also stalls set up to sell rocks to tourists.

unrolling the felt
laying it out to dry

It was a long haul to the east, but it got more interesting as we went through the mountains — and that's where we stopped for lunch.

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