Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

travel update from outer mongolia

Hello from Ulaan Baatar,
I am in Ulaan Baatar the capitol of Mongolia. Mongolia is a country of less than 3 million people, mostly nomadic herdsmen. Modern day Mongolia was called outer Mongolia when i was a child. It was deeply under the sway of the Soviet Union, but it did maintain its independence, at least on paper. Though in fact, Stalin and his boys were calling the shots, so to speak. Today it is a parliamentary democracy and the people seem pretty happy. they are part of the global community and tourism is beginning to reach them, although it is NOT an easy country for the independent traveler. Inner Mongolia is part of the Democratic Peoples Republic of China. I will pass through Inner Mongolia on my way to Beijing, soon. I expect to be in Beijing on August 10.
After a few days in Irkutsk Russian Siberaia, I went with Tom to visit Lake Baikal. It is 1,600 meters deep. So that makes Lake Baikal the deepest lake in the world. It is said to contain 20% of all the un-frozen fresh water in the world, More water than the Great lakes of USA and Canada (Erie, Huron, Michigan, Superior, and Ontario ) combined! I find that hard to believe but you can look it up! It is truyly a beautiful sight to see. A vast in-land sea that stretches for as far as the eye can see. Very cold and crystal clear waters. The following day we got back on the trans siberian rail road and left Russia and 36 hours later, entered Mongolia.
I have been here in Mongolia since 18 July. I arrived in the capital city and the following day took off for Terelj National Park. I stayed there for a couple of nights in an "eco camp" owned and run by Bert, who is a Dutch expat and crazy as a loon!! On the other hand, he is a hobby cheese maker and he makes most excellent Gouda cheeses. I watched and learned a lot from him. All the milk he uses come from his own free ranging grass eating cows. Happy cows make happy cheese! Most of the deal is in control of the temperature, and the process of separating the curds from the whey. After this it is all about aging. In the end I bought a quarter kilo of some excellent home made cheese from him and I enjoyed the last of it in a grilled cheese sandwich this afternoon, accompanied by a couple of eggs over easy.
I am not exactly sure what an eco camp is, even after staying in one. I was going to ask Bert but he is so crazy that it seemed not a good idea to risk further agitating the man. He needs an anger management course...I can not for the life of me decide why he should be so angry. he lives in one of the most beautiful and tranquil places I have ever seen on this lovely green planet of ours. Beautiful green valleys of grass called steppes for as far as the eye can see. lovely gentle hills surround his lush beautiful valley. herds of free ranging livestock Yaks, cows, horses, sheep, goats go slowly grazing by,...
The Mongolian cowboys go galloping along and their dogs kind of keep the animals in a group. the cowboys sing as they ride! Serious!! You can hear them singing to themselves out loud as they go by on their ponies.
The lodging is rather primitive in a fun way. I stayed in what is called in Mongolian a "Ger". In Khazakistan, it is called a "yurt". It is a circular shaped tent. It is semi permanent structure. you can take one down or put one up in an hour if you are experienced. There is a wood stove in the middle and there is a little chimney so it is warm at night. Our Ger had 5 beds in it. there are bigger ones and also smaller ones.
Near our camp is a lovely little river with crystal clear rather cold water. I took a very brief dip but did not swim. My two travelling companions Mathew from Denmark and Florian from Germany did , but they did not stay in the water for very long. Next day I took a long walk around the steppe and gathered mushrooms with Nellie, which Bert inspected to be sure we would not poison ourselves and after his approval we sauteed them in olive oil and served them on toast. Very nice indeed. We cooked in the Ger of Nellie a german woman who was there at the same time as us and she had brought a camp stove and some frying pans. We all had dinners together while we were there and left together as well.
During my long walks and solitary sitting time out there on the Mongolian steppes I found myself contemplating the Sourse of my "self". My "being" or my "essence" as it were. Many of you have heard me speak of the line of being and the line of doing. I often say I am a human being not a human doing. Many of you also have heard me speak of the inevitable law of karma, of cause and effect, action and reaction. The problem is like the chicken and the egg, where does one begin and the other end? What comes first? is not every action merely a reaction?
Well I believe I have come to a new understanding. A man's being is the cause, and his doing is the effect. That is why one works on ones being. because all your doing is a result of your being. If one can perfect or at least improve ones being, his doing, that is to say, his actions, will also change in corresponding fashion.
It has been said that in order for a man to "do" first he must truly "be". I have pondered this riddle for decades. Mr. Gurdjieff was said to have told his pupils that a man, such as he is, can "do" Nothing. for Man in his present state things just happen, that doing is illusion. Last week on the steppes of outer Mongolia this idea truly made sense to me for the first time. I have been working on my being for a long time now. Working on my ewssense by observiong my "self" ...Observing my breath, my fantasies and daydreams, my body at rest. Not doing, just observing. It is the observing that brings about a change.
In quantum mechanics it is said that the observation of the experiment changes the experiment. That there is no line of separation between observer and observed. To observe the experiment is to change the experiment, so I reckon that to observe ones self is to change ones self.
Below are some quotes to think about until my next update. I hope this letter finds all of you well and peaceful.
Peace and love to you all,

"The man who carries a cat by the tail learns something that can be learned in no other way." Mark Twain

"Man [has] always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much-the wheel, New York, wars and so on-while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man-for precisely the same reason." Douglas Adams

"The greatest barrier to consciousness is the belief that one is already conscious." PD Ouspensky


Anonymous Yeni said...

the trans Siberian railroad train must have been awesome! i wanna do it some day as well.. btw you could also visit Korea since you're going to China soon.. :)

2:14 AM  

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