Final Thoughts on the Trip from Dr. Michael Gayle

Following a busy and hectic five days at the hospital, the group made a four day visit to parts of Eastern Mongolia. On Saturday morning we met our tour guide and driver at the hotel and then headed out of Ulaanbataar on the East – West highway, part of the 3% of paved roads in Mongolia. Along the way we stopped at an ovoo, a religious site, used in worship of mountains and the sky as well as in Buddhist ceremonies but often are also landmarks. On the highway we stopped at a vendor who had some eagles that could be placed on our outstretched arms or  shoulders.

We also visited a nomad family in their ger and were offered a drink of airag (fermented mare’s milk) and aaruul (dried curd). Soon we left the paved highway to start our many hours of roller coaster ride on miles and miles of unpaved dirt roads. We visited one of the handful of Buddhist monasteries left in Mongolia after the majority of monasteries were destroyed by the Russians. This was quite an interesting visit as we had to do quite a lot of walking and hiking to see all the unique historic monastery structures on this site. Our day ended when we reached our first camp site at the blue lake.
That night I had an amazing time viewing stars where I was able to see and identify the Milky Way very clearly with my naked eyes for the first time. The next day we toured  the camp site which was a major area for Chinggis Khaan and the history of the Khaan dynasty.
The following day we headed for the Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve area. We drove through vast areas of steppe where we observed several herds of cattle, sheep, goats and horses. We checked into our ger camp site and our respective gers. The next day we went rafting which was quite relaxing. After lunch we went horseback riding on horses that were initially not interested in going more than at a trot. However, the horses became a lot more enthusiastic when we were heading back to the camp and sprinted all the way back.
The next day we checked out of our camp to head back to Ulaanbataar. We navigated our way along the unpaved dirt roads observing the beautiful landscape of Mongolia. We stopped at the massive Chinggis Khaan statue and museum. This was quite an impressive exhibit and is a major tourist attraction.
Our final day in Mongolia was spent visiting the largest existing active Buddhist monastery, the Gandan Monastery, in Mongolia. Inside the monastery, there were numerous chanting llamas and we saw a towering 25 meter high Buddha statue. Our next stop was at the National Museum of Mongolia where we saw several historical artifacts on Mongolian history and culture. Our final day ended with some shopping.
This was quite an incredible and amazing visit to Mongolia. I believe our team made a significant contribution to the health care of the children in Mongolia and we all benefited from the experience.
I would like to personally thank Dr. Eric Sandler and the Baptist Health Foundation, in memory of Jonathan Soud, for giving me the opportunity to participate in this worthy project.
-Michael Gayle
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1 Comment

  1. Terry Humphrey

     /  September 8, 2013

    Thank you Dr. Gayle for sharing your experience. I have enjoyed the teams journey and each post made me feel as though I was there beside you. Safe travels. 🙏


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