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Mongolia update

June 20th, 2010 · 3 Comments

We are now about a month away from departure for Mongolia.  Things are coming together nicely. 

We have plane tickets, train tickets, Mongolian visas, and we’ve looked at Ulaan Baatar on GoogleEarth.  That should about do it, besides the extra large bottle of Imodium we need to pick up.

Actually, we still need visas for our 5 days in China on the way over.  After a lot of searching, we found a Regina travel agent who could help us with that.  Thank you CAA Saskatchewan.

To get a Chinese visa, you need to have someone hand deliver your application and passports to the Embassy in Ottawa, or one of the consulates (Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver).  And they have to show up at precisely the right time with precisely the right amount of payment and enough left over to pay for the parking meter outside for an indefinite period of waiting time.  Then they need to go back 4-5 business days later, deposit sufficient funds in the parking meters again, pick up the passports, and then courier them back to you.

The Mongolian process was much easier – we just couriered them to the Mongolian Embassy in Ottawa, and the next week we got a package back.  However, this is one of those times you wish you were an American – they don’t need visas for Mongolia at all.  They can just show up.  Hopefully the recent opening of a Canadian Embassy in Ulaan Baatar will make a difference.

It is possible that the kids are getting excited about the trip, but we think they have the last day of school on the brain.  That’s next Friday.  Then the older two go off to camp right away for a week, followed by Tommy’s first ever week at camp the week after.  Then after a week at home all together, off we go.

Plus, it is also possible that the idea of fermented mare’s milk (Honey – it’s time to milk the horse again!) and boiled sheep testicles (I hear they’re offal) has them somewhat wary.  And we haven’t even told them about the deep fried scorpions and grasshoppers you can buy on the street in Beijing.  Gotta save some surprises.

Tags: Mongolia · Travel

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jim // Jul 10, 2010 at 3:27 am

    You’ll probably be too late for testicle soup, but you’ll be right on time for fresh Arag (fermented mare’s milk. Eating butz (mutton dumplings) is tricky. You need to have a big enough mouth to put the whole dumpling in, and then be careful chewing so the grease doesn’t squirt out your mouth or down your neck. An eat them hot. Cold mutton grease reminds me of tallow. (It probably is!)

  • 2 admin // Jul 10, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Butz remind me of some nameless thing they served us in Tajikistan (I was there for 4 months in 2004/05 supporting their Parliamentary elections). From what I’ve read about butz, and from your description, the ones in Tajikistan were much larger (more like the size of a pizza pop or an apple turnover). This meant that the fat ran down your arm and coagulated into a stalactite hanging from your elbow. I always felt that if I have known in advance, I could have strategically placed some string and made candles on my elbow while I ate.

    You’re right – not so good cold. Mutton fat has a special way of sticking to the roof of your mouth, sometimes for days

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