Saturday, July 9, 2011

Surprises and adventures keep coming. On Friday, Magcar arranged for a car and driver and took Odgerel and me to the site of the Naadam horse racing. People were arriving and setting up their gers. The finish line was already there. We drove around looking for horses and happened upon a family who were going to race five horses, several of whom were already race winners. They also had several babies, and the mares were milked every two hours in order to get the mild for airag. They offered us airag and soup and showed us around.

They used to have 200 horses, but most were wiped out in the deadly winter of 2010. One of the race horses is half English, and he did perk up when I asked him, in English, to pose nicely for me!

Then, on Saturday, my friend Hishge called and invited me to a concert. The main attraction was a performance by 1,024 children, all playing the horse-head fiddle (morin khuur). Amazing! This was followed by many acts - singers: individuals, groups (both small and large), modern, traditional, throat, and dancers, and contortionists. All the performers were from the Zavhan Aimag - and the whole aimag must have been there. The children performed on the Square, and will perform once more at the opening ceremonies of Naadam on Monday morning.

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