Monday, August 2, 2010

Mongolian Permaculture: Day 34 - Preparing for the Gobi Desert


Rest days in UB starting to blur together. Grateful for time off my feet to relax and heal, but getting itchy to move again…

We are each getting restless, and while we have been enjoying the variety of food available in the city [Korean last night, German yesterday, Vegetarian café the day before that, French café tomorrow morning].

We each share a common love of the thrill, the deeper connection, the rich experience of traveling with a purpose and something to contribute to the people and places we visit.

We’d much rather head out to the Gobi Desert for two weeks and teach a short course, or two for co-operatives that are struggling with even harsher growing conditions than we have seen so far.

This is so much more fulfilling than indulging in the cheap thrills of the standard tourist experience in Mongolia …or anywhere else in the world, for that matter.

Rick has extensive experience helping in dryland and desert areas, having worked in Africa, Mexico, Israel, and the Gaza Strip, and is particularly keen to get out there to see what he can contribute.

The Aid Agency is happy to support and organize this impromptu trip and training since we have fulfilled the original contract and deliverables. Still working on compiling the written report, and will deliver the verbal report The Program Director upon return to UB, three days before we fly home.

An impromptu training for Urban Design, and another short workshop on Sustainable Aid, open to all Aid Agencies working in Mongolia, are somehow also planned somewhere in those last 3 days.

Kat has taught us The Best Card Game in the World [according to Tichu players]: Tichu. An addictive kind of hybrid between poker, trumps, and 500, we played until the early morning hours last night before, and have unfinished business tonight.

Our new German friend Stefan is a seasoned 500 player, he and Rick partner up and provide for hours of hilarious entertainment as they analyze the game to pieces and rapid-fire hundreds of questions at Kat in their attempts to thrash us [as any serious card player would rightly do to a pair of We’re-playing-for-fun-why-can’t-we-all-just-get-along players].

I won’t waste valuable text space on this blog with uncouth trash-talk, especially since we were far too busy winning to waste time trash-talking…

…suffice to say that we had to let Rick win the 2nd game lest he be unbearably grumpy for the next two weeks on the road in the desert.

Competitive, what?!

Tomorrow we catch the train to the Gobi Desert.


  1. Loving the details of your posts. They provide color and much life to your adventure! Go, Matt, Go!

  2. thank you for reading and sharing in the adventure!!