Wicked Winterfrost

Hunger For Gold & Afraid of Tent-Eating Goats

Posted in Mongolia by talikas on June 15, 2009



It was our second or third night when we camped in an area known for its illegal gold mining. More than  100’000  Mongolians (quite a big number, considering that Mongolia’s population is only 2’500’000) earn their daily income by digging deep holes in the ground and looking for gold. Mining fields are big, dusty, dirty and poor, and the hard and unhealthy work usually done (manually) by the whole family. People who are looking for the gold are called “ninjas” and if they are not digging their wholes, they are known to get drunk and act nasty (“They come and get the women”). This is also why our guide and driver were slightly worried about putting up our tents in that area.

Besides a big herd of goats and sheep surrounding us almost all the time and a local family coming to chat, the evening was quite peaceful. But at night, in our tents, we started hearing strange noises. I am sure someone tried to eat our tent (I suppose a goat) and both Juliette and I heard mysterious footsteps outside. We were too scared to go outside and check what is going on, so we just tried to fall asleep convincing ourselves that it is just some animals, and not drunk ninjas.

In the morning we discovered that in front of Tseigi’s tent there was a big pile of dirt. Just like that. In steppes black soil just doesn’t fall from the sky, and the amount of dirt was too big for some animal to bring/produce it. But who brough the dirt? All this seemed kind of weird, and the superstitious Mongolians were even more tense. I know that a random pile of dirt doesn’t sound that terrible, but on the spot it was completely unexplainable and very spooky. With mixed feelings we drove out to find the ninjas.





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