It had a milky flavor (no surprise there) and was thick and creamy, but not in a good way. Like the thickest yogurt you can imagine, but without any tart or tangy flavor. So, we mostly stuck to the milk tea for breakfast.
Next we enjoyed our host’s foreign coin and currency collection. With coins and bills dating back to the 1930s it was an interesting collection. We contributed some Chinese Yuan, Korean Dong, and Nepalese Rupees (the least value coin in the collection). We said goodbye and began a short trek 2 kilometer desert trek to Mr. Nyamsuren's Ger.
We were received with traditional Mongolian hospitality,
with hot milk tea and aruul. Aruul, as
you may know, is curdled milk dehydrated in the air and the sun. There is no limit to its shelf life. There is also no limit to its grossness. Actually, as far as traditional Mongolian
food goes, the aruul was far from the worst.
It tastes like really hard parmesan cheese, really hard, really sour,
bad parmesan cheese.
|All the money was so cutely stored in plastic zip-lock bags.|
Some of the bills were really old, like 1920s and 1930s. Cool.
|You think those look like delicious shortbread or cookies? Wrong.|
Just curdled milk, dried.
After nibbling on the aruul we again gestured how full we were. The awkward silence was thankfully broken when the little girl recruited us into a game of “Shagai”; the national Mongolian game. It is like playing “marbles” but you use the ankle bones of sheep. Seriously. This game became a great way to pass the time with our host families. We quickly learned the rules* and often called for it whenever there was a dull moment, or we needed to divert attention from the minimal amount of food we were able to take down.
|Looks like a winning flick.|
|The look of a Shagai master|
|I thought to myself, "maybe it will look better once its served"|
Actually not at all.
|And I take the tiniest bite I've ever taken in my whole life. But, its a real bite.|
|And I look around expressing how delicious I find it to be.|
And I try to sneak bits into Jesse's bowl.
|Faker! This is a fake. Look at Ms. Shifty Eyes.|
Not a drop is she eating. NOT A DROP.
|And this little loved it so much he got to lick the spoon!|
|I guess its all a matter of taste.|
|Room temperature khooser|
|Inside of a room temperature khooser|
|She struggled with the factory-produced mass of ramen noodles |
(she is reaching for the single bowl that she uses for all other meals)
|I offered to demonstrate the proper way to eat, enjoy, and savor a Gobi ramen...|
The rest of time with the Gundambuu family was delightful. We wandered around the Gobi, taught the kids how to unlock and lock and relock our luggage locks, saw a larger goat milking operation and read our kindles as the sun set in the Gobi.
|The amazing Gobi|
|Our super-cute little friend. She loved our tent.|
|Neither she, nor I, loved having our faces washed|