Ulaanbaatar: The Places and The Faces

The Mongolian People’s Republic

August 13, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

Sükhbaatar Square is perhaps the most attractive spot in this capital city (pop. 1,100,000). The government palace sits at the head of the square.  Under the eaves of the palace entrance, a seated Genghis Khan (1162 – 1227) presides over the square grounds.  Damdin Sükhbaatar, the leader of the 1921 revolt, sits on his horse in front of the palace. A phalanx of warrior horsemen attends the hero of this republic.  (cf. Chinggis Khaan International Airport.)

The enormous open space of the square is surrounded on three sides by a variety of attractive, pastel government buildings, theaters and banks.


Central Mongolia: "Terelj; Khustain; Zuunmod"

Ulan Bator

August 14, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

Rather than subjecting myself to a difficult journey over less than adequate roads, I decided to follow Baaysa’s advice and take day-trips from Ulan Bator to the relatively close and accessible national parks.

There were three trips and each one provided a unique landscape.

I met Baaysa by chance in Bangkok, and with her friend Batschka and our driver, we traveled through some of the most gorgeous scenery I have ever encountered.

The Gobi: "Three Camel Lodge, Flaming Cliffs, Petroglyphs"

Three Camel Lodge
The Gobi

The Editor
CondeNast Traveler
August 17, 2010

Dear Mr. Editor,

cc: Family and Friends

For the “Room with a View” section of your magazine Condé Nast Traveler, I submit my photographs from the Three Camel Lodge in the Gobi, Mongolia.  My room was the Rabbit Ger -- the deluxe gers have names.

The Rabbit Ger is not a primitive, nomadic tent in the middle of a bleak and unforgiving desert. The ger is a round and thoroughly insulated, colorful abode with ample headroom.  

The Ger is a first-class accommodation with a king-size bed, desk and chairs, and a private bathroom with a sink and modern toilet.  Solar power provides lights and hot water.  The public shower room is clean and modern.  There’s plenty of hot water.  (A sign in the stall reads, “A short shower is as refreshing as a long one.”) 

Just across the threshold of my ger is the Gobi. 

The Gobi: Sand Dunes

Gobi Discovery Ger Camp
The Gobi

August 19, 2010

Dear Family and Friends.

Sand dunes.  I am here, overnight, at the Gobi Discovery Ger Camp.  To see the sand dunes.

Until today, the only sand dunes I have ever seen are on the south shore of Long Island or the east coast of Florida.  Those dunes are little hills with convenient wooden walkways.  You carry your chair, umbrella and towel over the dunes to the beach.

Why am I here for the sand dunes in the Gobi?