September 10, 2009 GMT
Retrieving Thelma and theArt of Marmot Smuggling

With Ian safely home in England, I could now turn my attention to Thelma who had been languishing in a shed in Eastern Mongolia for a week. Arrangements were made that I would go with the watchman from the Oasis hostel where I've been staying, and that we would go in a pick-up truck.

It turned out to be a very long day as my eight hour round trip to Ondorkhaan (which needs to be said in a Mongolian accent with a bit of saliva at the back of the throat) became a non-stop 14 hour slog in which I was squashed in the middle seat of the little pick-up truck cab wedged in between two Mongolian blokes who spoke no English, I had an exceedingly numb backside by the end of the journey and felt like I could barely walk. I was also feeling very nauseous- luckily I already had my travel sick wristbands on due to the nausea from my painkillers- I decided I'd better stay off the tablets for the rest of the day.

Our slow progress was partly due to the fact that the main road heading east out of the city was closed - as this is one of only two tarmac roads in the whole country it led to a long detour on dirt tracks and to my disappointment I found that after one and a half hours of hard driving we were still only 46 kms from Ulaanbaatar. I settled in for a lengthy journey, enjoying Baatar and Banyu's hatter about the various gers (yurts) and horse we passed. One of my main fears had been how well they would tie Thelma down for the return trip, but I needn't have worried as they did an excellent job using straps and various ropes.

We had an interrupted journey on the way back as the driver stopped at a couple of gers, making enquiries, we then shot into the nearest town and parked up in a quiet corner near the market. My curiosity was raised further by the sight of a woman scurrying down the street with a carrier bag, she furtively looked around and then handed the bag over in exchange for some banknotes. Baatar quickly wrapped the bag in his jacket and stuffed it onto the seat between us. Intrigued, I tried to find out what it was but they were not very forthcoming. Twenty minutes later we passed a police checkpoint and shortly after that they opened up the bag and showed me some meat and the roasted head of something that bore a distinct resemblance to the roasted guinea pigs of South America. It was a marmot and they seemed very pleased with themselves.

Later back at the hostel as all the staff gathered round to share in the feast I was given the full story- roasted marmots are considered a delicacy in Mongolia and the animals are now an endangered species, the government has taken action declaring it illegal to kill them and that anyone found with a dead marmot is heavily fined. I can just imagine that appearing on my criminal record.

Posted by tiffanycoates at September 10, 2009 07:03 AM GMT
 
 

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!


HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.


Renedian Adventures


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!