Our last stop for the day was at another Kazakh family's ger camp on the Mongolian steppe. The emptiness of the landscape was both incredibly peaceful and longingly lonely. Lunch included delicious bread and tsuivan. I lost a hand game and had to clean the dishes.
Since there isn't much to do here, I spent my time playing with the dogs, petting my new friend: a baby goat named "Matt," listening to the entire 'Born This Way' album and my collection of Adele, and napping. While I lay awake listening to music, a cow poked his head in the doorway of our ger, sniffed around, and then stared at me. I waved. She stared. It wasn't until one of our hosts yelled at her did the cow remove its head from our ger and bolt.
Karen and I went with the kids into the hills at one point - we took pictures, they took pictures, we played and messed around. The landscape ran for what seemed like an eternity, and every inch was magnificent. Each blade of grass a noticeably different color. I felt so utterly unimportant and insignificant.
Dinner was a simple melange of rice with carrots, peppers, onions, and beef, but the simplicity translated to excellency (again, some of the best things in life are simple!) We were offered homemade "red cheese," which was vile in both taste and texture. It tasted like a dirty sponge that had been soaked in spoiled milk... I do not suggest it. Despite the random nasty milk products, the food here continues to impress me.
After a final visit to the three walled outhouse with no door, I headed back to the ger. The steppe became chilly, but the ger was toasty - heated by wood and dried cow dung.
Just as we were about to go to sleep, the matriarch of the family came in to boil milk. She was followed by her eldest son and a few family members. Her son brought in a traditional Kazakh instrument called a Dombor. He serenaded us - the perfect way to end a perfect day.
The Mongolian Steppe
Our ger camp on the steppe
Our host, lighting up a homemade cigarette
Our driver, Ongo
Tommi, our travel companion
PS - Are you happy?