Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A trip to Mongolia with Beyond Expedition


if we were meant to stay in one place, we'd had roots instead of feet, he said - Rachel Wolchin

Instead of Costa Rica, Bhutan or Switzerland (on the original ranking system), Hans and I decided to spend our Christmas in Mongolia. An important trip to us as it is the first big one ever since our Chinese wedding/clementi home. I am so grateful and largely relieved that Hans was with me on this expedition. Delayed luggage, missed our bus and being a Toyota Prius contortionist, pee in the wild and maybe on the boots, silly tears after bump off the cutsy reindeer and returning ride on my yellow ribbon horse named 'Frosty', merlion during the last leg of travelling due to possible fatigue, not sure how I can manage without him. 

But this story is not about him, or us. This story is about a bowl of milk. 

You see, whenever all of us first arrived at a Mongolian home, we all gathered around the living space, Much silence at the beginning, just smiles and formal acknowledgements. The bowl of milk appeared then, served by the family hosts, mostly with bread. Everyone passed them around, busily the silence with bodily gestures. There was once Han tried to talk to me, I can't remember which family it was, I turned to him slowly and so slightly, looked down at his lap and replied a very soft 'Shh'. Am I the only one, I wonder. 

That was strange because it felt quite foreign but rather comfortable. I guess maybe everyone is waiting respectfully for someone else more important to take the lead, to break the ice, be it the local Mongolian drivers /guides or the Singapore guides or the family hosts or the guests.  
But most of the time, no one offered.
And so, the bowl of milk did. 


Beyond Expeditions SG, 16 people, 10 days, 4 families, a handful of cameras (thanks for the pics), stepping on diamond-scattered ground during the day and covered with a blanket of stars at night, 
this is what it takes for magic to happen.

This 2017 Winter Mongolia trip will never be the same without each one of you. 
Scott, Nate, Bayasa, Ganaa, Ganbaa, Mugi, Jamie, Bryan, Simei, Michelle, Nicole, Biwei, Ember, Mike, and my love- Hans...

Scott, thanks for doing this
This is the one and only portrait of you amongst all albums, speaks alot isn't it?
With greater power lies greater responsibilities

Nate, and you have 2 portraits! This one more hams! You will always be my bro
Only special people get my middle fingers. Preschool educators call them 'Tall men'  

Bayasa, you showed me the strength of a modern woman yet grounded to her roots
For your country and family, you have nothing to fear 

Ganaa oh Ganaa, they always say in life you just need to do one thing, just one and you shall shine 
Easier said than done. Takes years of experience, guts and wit
The forever-sleeping van people put our lives in your hands

 Mugi, who read my wild side and carried me up the saddle-less horse for a trial ride 
You became shy when he saw sleeping-van us looking at his dances moves
Being attached and unavailable, it led to lots of young and broken hearts  

Ganbaa, who took 2 glasses of volka before sharing his travel stories
Should have ask Mike to give him more! 

Bryan, for the sake of toasty nights in the ger, I resist the temptation to nudge you offBut now since we are back in sg, maybe I should calculate my shoulder-lending services

 Jamie, thanks for passing me sick bag, bottled water and spare thermos
Also your patience of walking me off THE mountain and saving me from further neck ache
I shall give your Bry (with sexy legs wink wink*) a discount (refer to the above)

*Bryan, share leh, give me 1 chio chio mug shot of Jamie leh, I shall replace this*

 Simei, thanks for cracking me up with all the things you said
I am glad I am not the only one who needs the eye-shut after 11pm
Just realised we have been room and bus mates throughout the whole trip!

Mike, to me you own the day on our walk up the mountian
Retrieving baby's scarf and mittens even though you cant catch up to her HA!
And executing Lion King. 
Walk up the mountain is one of Han's favorite moments, aside from Chinggis Khan, 
thanks for that

 Biwei who catches the glance of all men and women, be it Singaporean or Mongolian! 
Siao Liao, I need to stay fitter, thanks for inspiring! 

Michelle, who demonstrated so much courage and perseverance on the walk up and down the mountain 
I am glad we shared so much laughter with the Superman moves on that snowy slope one morning, tiring but so fun

Nicole, you are a lady with her full blast lucky stars 
From the yogurt drinks game, to your Siao Horse episode, to 5-10-15 game,
you shine on! 

 Ember, when we eat at MacDonalds this week, I told Han
Look around, maybe we get to see Ember and her hubby! 
Have or not? 
Hope to catch you around, Clementi neighbour 

Horse papa, I blinked back tears when you hugged me goodbye 
A man of few words but your aura is so strong it cuts through the air 

Billy Boss, thanks for galloping forward and saving Nicole's beautiful arse! 
I wish you luck on landing your hands on your own full Mongolian pair very soon! 
18 years old. Well well well, those were the days man!  

These two lovely red cheeks rascals, one scared me with his Walking Dead moves
Another showed off her secret spot on the frozen lake
How not to love?
They made my teacher instincts kicked in so many times
But the one I should actually worry about me myself and I 
(To all my irritating friends, teacher instinct kicked in, not maternal instinct okay)

And you, my heart and soul.
Thanks for reading me like a well-read book
Giving me space when I need, pee space or sleep space 
Nudging in when I am frail on the inside
Thanks for laughing at all the same silly jokes with me 
Whilst watching the wonderful crime scene thriller of the pack of missing Giraffe cards 
And then taking this Coca Cola commercial break 
(Mongolian team Inside joke) 

And me, a merlion on Mongolian lands
Spreading my love for Singapore wherever I go!


And my visual story begins...


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