Terelj National Park
Tuesday 12th July
Sara, the head of the school Gabi worked at, and Bat-Bold, the school accountant, had offered to take Peter and me out to Terelj National Park. We waited outside for them in the little park between the apartment blocks: there were mothers with infants and milk containers, doing washing; older women in traditional dress, sitting talking; a pair of young women; kids; people walking through; a few cars going by.
We changed cars, picked up Jerry (another teacher at the school), went to the supermarket for food, then drove out to Terelj.
The first hotel we tried was too busy, so we went to the restaurant attached to another. This was much bigger than the ger camps we'd seen on the Intrepid tour: in addition to thirty gers it had wooden cabins, a concrete hotel, and tennis and basketball courts. A whole busload of Japanese disembarked while we were there.
Talking to Sara and Bat-Bold gave us a different view of Mongolia. They were both urbanised and entrepreneurial in outlook: as well as running the school, they'd started their own travel company and were interested in web sites and so forth.
After lunch Bat-Bold and Peter and I walked up a small hill, into the larch and beech forest, leaving the other two to sit. It was cool under trees, but the flies were bad and as it had been dry there were grasshoppers.
On the way back there was a rainstorm — the first real rains of the season, and there were some flooded roads in UB and even piles of hail outside Gabi's apartment! While we'd been having fun, poor Gabi had been wrestling with a Shanghai English textbook... trauma.
A nearby hill gave me a good view over the city.