Teserleg, Mongolia

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From Kharkhorin, I wanted to go to hot springs in Tsenher, which is just 25 kilometers out from Teserleg.  At first, it looked like Tsenher hot springs is on the way to Teserleg.  So I decided to get a bath in the hot springs before heading out to Teserleg.  Joe helped me to write up a sign while we were eating lunch at Morin Jim.  After he left, Natalie helped me to find the bridge right outside of Kharkhorin where the main road continued to further west.  “Look for the big trucks, the micros, and normal small cars.  Those are the ones traveling long distance.  Do not, I repeat, DO NOT ever get on one of those flat beds or small trucks, those are local trucks and hitchhikers get killed before.”   Then she demonstrated how to hitch a car.  “I used to volunteer the relief work out in Heidi after its earthquake.  Back there there is absolutely no public transportation, hitching is the only way to get around the country.”

After she left, I put up my sign and continued to hitch a car.  There were herds of goats passing through this bridge from time to time, crowding me and my luggage.  After a while, a small truck stopped despite the fact that I did not wave them down.  The two men in the car were obviously drunk, as they gestured me to get in the truck with them.  I told them that I’m not interested in going in their car since they were obviously not interested in where I was going…  After a while of persistence, they finally left, and I could see them turning up a road on a hill not far ahead of the main road.

After waiting around for 3 hours, a micro stopped.  Originally the driver asked for the money twice than what I was told the normal micro fare would cost… After some negotiation, I got it down to a normal fare price.  As soon as I got onto the micro, everyone laughed at each other, though I’m not very sure what they were laughing about since they were talking in Mongolian.  As far as I could tell, this is a much less crowded micro than what I had been told and expected.  So I sunk down into one of the cushy front seats and enjoyed the sceneries along the way.

Before I realized it, the driver called my name.  Apparently this is my stop.  He helped to drag my luggage off his micro.  I proceed to ask the direction to the hot spring.  Opening my Lonely Planet book, I pointed to the Tsenher Hot Spring’s chapter with its title in Mongolian.  The driver looked at the book, thought for a while, then picked up my bag and pushed me back to the micro… “Wait!  Why?  This is my stop!”   But no one knows English to explain to me what happened, and the next thing I knew I was in Teserleg just 12 km up.

I got in a well known foreigners hang out in town – Fairfield Inn.  This is a Christian mission establishment housing passing by backpackers.  The Mongolian girl explained to me that the Hot Spring itself is still another 27 kilometers from the town, so it is no use for the micro to drop me by Tsenher town, but they don’t know how to explain it to me, so they just put my luggage back and took me to Teserleg….   Unfortunately as a popular stop by for backpackers going west, Fairfield Inn was booked for the night.  However, they were willing to lend me a air mattress to sleep in for the night.  I remembered that Natalie mentioned two peacecorp workers here in town so I asked the hostess if she knew them.  It turned out that she knew them quite well.  Within a few minutes, I was in Tom’s little America at the edge of the town.

From Teserleg, Mongolia, posted by Jenny Zheng on 10/22/2011 (101 items)

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