We left Ulaan Baatar on Wednesday afternoon for an overnight trip to our next training location in Zamiin Uud to the southwest. On the left is the train station in Ulaan Baatar, and on the right are Melody, Theresa, Tseegil, and Mogy waiting for our train to come.
The accommodations on board were surprisingly comfortable. Our keepers (thank you, Bob and Elena!) had reserved two whole compartments for us so that we didn’t have to share the limited space with random travelers. Once on the train, we saw young Mongolians in full modern jeans and boots, followed by Buddhist monks, and ancient Mongolians in the heavy felt robes of the herdsmen with their characteristic hats. You could opt for buying clean linens (thank you, Melody!) and each compartment had four pillows and amazingly heavy wool blankets. So once we settled in, we were quite cozy!
We had a minor moveable feast in our two compartments from groceries bought at the Sky Department Store and from the shops at the train station. We had bought food because our predecessors had told us there was nothing to eat on board. That turned out not to be true in any case! A train attendant made her way the length of the train several times with meals and goodies for sale.
Theresa taught us a card game called “Spit” that managed to cross cultural language barriers readily. We played a small tournament that was won convincingly by our colleague Nyamdavaa who was on the same train. Here are pix. If they’re blurry it’s because we were moving so fast! Here is Theresa (hidden behind Tseegil) playing Nyamdavaa (left) and then Tseegil and Nyamadavaa (right).
Not long after this, we all settled in for the night, rolling in to Zamiin Uud bright and early Thursday morning. We have just three more days of training and then HOME!