Moron (or Muron) to Jargalant – Sam Weller’s diary entry



The following is an extract from Sam Weller’s diary written whilst travelling for three weeks through Mongolia with Panoramic Journeys.

Moron to Jargalant. We headed roughly south, climbing somewhat in altitude in the process. On the way we stopped at a large shamanistic shrine, an ovoo, where believers make offerings of food, money, booze, often a blue scarf on a cairn of rocks and/or cairn of sticks and logs. J had a blue scarf from Nepal, so she made an offering of that, after which she walked three times clockwise round the shrine and made a wish (which she didn’t share with me – I hope it was for a £100 million lottery win). Gave out some bubbles and balloons to some local kids.

We had lunch in a stunning location looking down a valley with several gers. The space, lack of people, and silence are amazing.

We drove on, and on, and on, over very poor roads, passing several Bronze Age/Iron Age burial mounds, finally stopping at a particularly rich site. Superb. Finally arrived at Jargalant where we stopped at the Museum, which was closed. Hishgee got someone to go to get the owner, an old boy of 75, called Shagdarswen, who arrived after 15 minutes to open up, but had forgotten to bring the key! He therefore had to cadge a lift home from a local lad, on his bike, to get it. So, 20 minutes later, into the Museum. There is an exhibit in honour of “Tall Gongor”, a local who in his day (1878-1938) was the tallest man in the world, at around 8 feet tall. There is an eclectic collection of other odds and ends Shagdarswen has collected over the last 50 years – this is his Museum, not state-funded, and he just collects stuff that interests him or that comes to hand. Suggest to PJ they make it a regular stop, and that travellers bring stuff to leave to boost the collection – we left Shaggie with some British coins, Chinese banknotes, and postcards of Basingstoke, London and Prince William and Kate Middleton! He was absolutely blown away by these simple gifts.

We also took a Polaroid photo of him proudly standing in the entrance to his Museum, and gave it to him. In return he presented us with some lovely little animal carvings he had made – a yak for J, and a horse for me. Wonderful.

We then drove on a couple of miles to our ger camp, which seems nice enough. Pleasant setting. They have hot springs, so we had a sulphur-smelling shower and (extremely) hot bath – separated males and females.

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