July 2009. Somewhere around Lake Hovskol, Northern Mongolia.
It was my first time ever on a horse and I was a bit scared. Not scared of not being able to handle the horse, but scared that I’d get sore from riding it for many hours and wouldn’t be able to make it to the camp. We were going to horse-trek for most of the day and for someone so inexperienced as me it was quite a challenge.
Luckily, we happened to pass by the house of one of our guides. And he invited us to stop there for a short break. I don’t have to say how excited I was about that invitation. The house was a small one-room structure with two double beds, a table and a small wood-fire stove. We sat on the floor and started preparing sandwiches, when the guide’s wife started serving suutei tsai, traditional Mongolian tea. The problem with this tea is that it tastes really bad (it’s prepared with salt) and you are not suppose to refuse it, as it’s considered rude. So we sat there and drank one bowl of salty tea after another, smiling politely and praying for the lady to stop serving the drink. After about four bowls she decided we had enough. Thanks God for that!