January 10, 2009

Cultural Tips for Travelers to Mongolia
The people of Mongolia have preserved their ancient friendly and hospitable character up to the present day, so tourists do not meet with many difficulties while travelling in this country. In the big cities, you will be able to find a tour guide or an interpreter and to get help when you need it. The most important thing to pay attention to is that you respect the culture and the customs of the people and that you familiarize yourselves with their "dos and don'ts", since you are coming to a less well-known society. Mongolia is a place of varied landscapes, combining mountains, desert, and steppe. The people, therefore, following the peculiarities of their environment, have developed many different traditions, customs, and beliefs, too.
Among the inhabitants of Ulaanbaatar and the other big cities, you will find the ways of thinking and the manners that young people in western countries are used to. Once out in the countryside, however, you will realize that everything is completely different. Mongolians usually shake hands with someone they meet for the first time to show their respect for the new acquaintance. Sometimes people will stretch out their hand, too, when they have trodden on your toes by accident. You should then shake hand, which is a way of showing your respect for the person. If someone treads on your toes or bumps into you accidentally, that person will certainly stretch out his or her hand to beg your pardon. This means, "No hard feelings!" If you do not respond to this apology, the other one will worry that you still bear a grudge against him or her. When Mongolian men meet you on the road in the countryside, they will take out their snuff bottles and offer them to you. This is to honor you by treating you with snuff. The snuff in these round bottles made of precious stones and nicely fitting into the palm of a hand does not contain nicotine, so you should take some or at least sniff at the bottle's neck before giving it back. If you fail to do this, you will insult the man. Mongolians, like many other people of the east, regard the head and shoulders as the pure parts of the body, so you should try not to touch anyone there. If you enter a yurt, you should by no means step on it’s threshold. Mongolians strictly forbid this to their children, too. And you should not straightaway move to the back part of a yurt or sit in the seat of honor. This is a special place where Mongolians put their Buddha shrines, and where only the head of the household sits. Outsiders usually are not allowed there. If the owner of the yurt invites you to the seat of honor, this is a token of high esteem.The arrival of guests is a very special occasion for Mongolians. They will take out their most delicious food and drink and treat you with everything they have, until the last bite and drop is used up. Of course, it is not easy to digest such quantities, but try at least to taste every dish.

October 10, 2008

A Book which contains a chapter about me.

Les Kletke is a freelance writer and speaker with an exceptional resumé. He has studied as a Nuffield Scholar in England and has a degree in Economics and a diploma in Agriculture from the University of Manitoba. He worked as an agronomist in Russia and studied agriculture in Canada, the U.S., Korea, Brazil, New Zealand, and most recently Mongolia and China. He is also a graduate of the Continental School of Auctioneering.His first book, Riding the Bus with the Chickens, recounted his adventures during two decades of traveling to more than 20 countries on five continents. He believes in experiencing a country through its people, their customs, and their food. In his second book, On the Right Track - Tales from the Trans Siberian and Beyond, he paints a vivid picture with words of the spirit he discovered through memorable encounters and experiences on his trek across nearly 1/3 of the earth's circumference. The books are available at http://www.leskletke.com/

If you wish to experience an unforgettable stay in the Northern Mongolia, the country of reindeers and Reindeer people, enjoy the beauty of untouched nature, experience tranquility of spirit though walking and riding in the ever-green taiga forest, breathing the most serene air, fishing or boating at the one of world-famous for its pristine water lakes and satisfy your gastronomical tastes with the delicious Mongolian and Western cuisines a lot of which is made out of from the ecologically clean product, the Huvsgul fish; If you wish to be rendered the famous Mongolian hospitality and sophisticated, friendly service; If you wish to spend some days in the beautifully arranged Mongolian gers experiencing the true unity with the nature around you, just make sure you choose a trip with Black Horse Tours. Visit the Reindeer people, who are an ethnic minority that has a very different lifestyle, culture and customs from other Mongolian ethnic groups. You will learn much from the Reindeerers’ culture and traditions pierced with the shamanist believes of worshiping the Nature. You will see reindeers and you can ask all the questions that may be browsing your mind and senses acing up the most simple and natural way of living away from cement, glass, noise and rush of urban life. Lake Huvsgul is the second largest lake in Mongolia, and one of the most important touristic destinations. Khuvsgul Lake is located in the northwest of Mongolia near the border to Russia, at the foot of the eastern Sayan Mountains. It is 1645 m above sea level, 136km long and 262m deep.Its watershed is relatively small, and it only has small tributaries. It gets drained at the south end by the Egiin River, which connects to the Selenge River and ultimately into Lake Baikal. In between, the water travels a distance of more than 1,000 km, and a height difference of 1,169 m, although the line-of-sight distance is only about 200 km.The lake is surrounded by several mountain ranges. The highest mountain is the Munh Sardag (3,492 m), which has its peak north of the lake exactly on the Russian-Mongolian border. The surface of the lake freezes over completely in winter. The ice cover gets strong enough to carry heavy trucks, so that transport routes are installed on its surface as shortcuts to the normal roads.Huvsgul is one of seventeen ancient lakes worldwide more than 2 million years old and the most pristine. It holds about 3 thousandths of the liquid sweet water on this planet, and is the most significant drinking water reserve of Mongolia. Its water is potable without any treatment and offers good living conditions for many types of fish.The Lake area is a National Park bigger than Yellowstone and strictly protected as a transition zone between Central Asian Steppe and Siberian Taiga. The lake is traditionally considered sacred in a land suffering from arid conditions where most lakes are salty.The Park is home to a variety of wildlife such as ibex, argali, elk, wolf, wolverine, musk deer, brown bear, Siberian moose and sable.