on June 30, 2009
I can’t say that any dining experience we had on our trip was good. Most of our meals consisted of dried beef mixed with noodles. We also tried some "Beef Tea" which was basically a mixture of hot water, tea, milk, salt and dried beef and a few cow bones. It was about as appetizing as it sounds.However one highlight was our lunch stop in Karakorum in the ger of Nassan’s friend. We started with tea and cookies. The cookies were more like hardened doughnut fingers, which were impenetrable when dry but sweet and soft when dipped in the tea.Next came dried beef again but with Fusilli pasta. As bizarre as it sounds, it made a welcome change from noodles. After the meal we were served a full mug of port. We were somewhat taken aback by the generous pouring and quietly sipped it whilst Nassan and our host put theirs away in about ten minutes flat.The food however was upstaged by the entertainment we were treated to that day. A gentleman by the name of Shuteen Ayalguu entered the ger in traditional Mongolian garb and proceeded to entertain us with throat singing and playing various stringed instruments in a private 40-minute concert. We sat in awe throughout as he sang traditional Mongolian songs and switched effortlessly between three different instruments (four if you include the spoon he played on his mouth, cheek, nose and forehead!) We eagerly purchased his CD for 15,000 Tugrik ($12.88), not bad considering the concert was a mere $2.50 per person for front row seats. Shuteen then sat with us for a while answering questions. Apparently the best way to get started as a throat singer is to learn how to hold your breath for an extremely long time.
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