because

I suppose the most famous Mongol is as good a place as any to start. When I first decided to visit Mongolia, mostly people reacted with a stunned blink and the question "…Why?" It's one I find impossible to answer briefly without sounding dismissive, and equally impossible to answer at length without starting to ramble […]

can somebody please tell me why i'm starving?

Mongolian men have no qualms about asking for directions when they're not sure of the way,1 which is lucky because I could count on one hand the number of road signs I spotted — and the road signs follow the same rules as maps in Mongolia. Namely, they're just supposed to be, you know, vaguely […]

photos just don't do it justice

I find there are two things I keep saying about Mongolia. First, that I frustratingly couldn't fit the country into my camera, and second, that its extremes of weather, and the swiftness with which one extreme followed the other, gave me climate whiplash. I started off in UB, which to my delight was unseasonably warm […]

no, i'm not pining, whyever do you ask that?

Those of you who follow me via Faecesbook Facebook may have gathered that I fell in love with the horses while I was over there. I was always taught that the official definition of horse vs pony was simply that a pony was under 14 hands high at the withers. Turns out from a quick […]

details count

I snapped this at the top of Chuluut Canyon. I'd expected to spend the walk peering after fossils and petroglyphs, which I'd heard could be seen in these parts. Instead I received a detailed lesson (complete with quiz) in distinguishing which animal had produced each of the various type of faeces we passed. (I was […]

Tibet is…

Today I have a special present for you all: a guest post by the redoubtable Tessa! Tessa is one of the authors featured in Baggage, which will be launched at Borders, South Wharf (20 Convention Center Place), Thursday 2 September 2010 1-3pm. Having read Tessa's contribution to the anthology (several times) I can promise it […]

not since the holocene

I may or may not have contracted some form of con lurgy despite barely managing an attendance. (Turns out a con in your home town? Surprisingly inconvenient. The dayjob expects you to earn your keep, instead of swanning around pretending you're a real grown-up writer.)1 So instead of actual, you know, content, on the producing […]

tarbosaurus forgives all

Today I am feeling somewhat whimsical, and somewhat nostalgic, so I think that means it's time for more Mongolia pictures. To perfectly encapsulate my mood, perhaps it's best I give you pictures taken inside the Natural History Museum. I visited this museum because I wanted to see a Tarbosaurus Bataar skeleton, and say what you […]

the exotic made familiar

These little guys were everywhere in Mongolia. Mostly they came out at dawn and dusk and fled at sight of people, in a strange bounding, dashing gait. I remember being woken one morning by a stream of angry chittering: we'd staked our tent so that the stay-rope interfered with his favourite exit. We nicknamed them […]