Formerly "Outer Mongolia" when it was part of China (until 1921; I presume the adjoining area of China was "Inner Mongolia" or something). Its capital is the fun to say "Ulaanbaatar" (sometimes spelled as two words). Does a lot of minerals mining (leading to deforestation in some areas) and the industrial area around the capital is very polluted.

Here are a few facts and conclusions about Mongolia, as written by my brother Eylon, who's now on a big trip in the far east.

Facts about Mongolia:

1. The area of Mongolia is three times that of France.

2. Population: 2.5 million human beings and 10 million horses.

3. Men-Women ratio: 1:4 (1 man for every 4 women).

4. Mongolia was once a great empire (in the times of Genghis Khan).

5. After Genghis Khan died, it diminished back to a small (in relative terms), unadvanced east asian country.

6. Mongolia gets about $10 million from the UN every year.

7. There's about 1600 kilometers in total of asphalt roads, most of them in the capital Ulan Bator, and the rest in the runway of the Ulan Bator airport maybe (i didn't see paved roads anywhere else).

About travelling in Mongolia:

1. There's no such thing here as enforced law. You can do pretty much whatever you want.

2. There's a feeling of freedom that you don't feel elsewhere.

3. The best way to travel is to buy a horse and start riding.

4. The food is a disaster: sheep meat, yak meat (tastes like sheep meat), cow meat (tastes like sheep meat), sheep milk (tastes like sheep meat), horse milk (tastes like sheep meat), camel milk (tastes like sheep meat), yak milk (tastes like sheep meat), etc. (tastes like sheep meat). This can become a serious psychological problem: Everything tastes and smells like sheep's meat.

5. The women are beautiful, and considering the phenomenal rate of 4:1 it's heaven for guys (who like women... because the Mongolian men aren't something worth the travel all the way to Mongolia).

6. The Mongolian men however can do everything (like make a fire, for example) better then we can.

7. Tourism is not very advanced, and about 30-40 percent of the tourists are Israelis. You can spend a month or two here (if you don't mind the food) and you'll find great people traveling here.

8. The minute you get out of Ulan Bator (and you'll do it fast), you start your trek. There is no road, no cities/villages, everything is open. You can go wherever you want, and stay wherever you want. You see a Ger (traditional tent) and you just go in, smile and behave like it's your own home. They will give you everything they have (most of them).

9. Riding a horse: it's very easy. You just need a good saddle and good boots to protect your legs and you're set. Mongolian horses survive a -50c winter, meaning they are very strong. They are a little smaller then the Arabian or western horses but stronger. You don't need to feed them, there's grass everywhere. You just need to let them eat. It's really easy to learn and really makes you feel like one of Genghis Khan's warriors, especially if you have a good guide who knows how to sing traditional Mongolian songs (sounds a little bit like native American songs). The songs are prayers for the spirit of the land and the mountains etc.

10. Go there before the German and American tourists will destroy its natural beauty and viriginity. I will go back (some day)...

- september 10th 2001

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