Sunday, October 21, 2007

Plague and pestilence

In the mid fourteenth century a strange new disease swept into Europe from the east. The Black Death, as it became known, devastated two continents and killed between a third and a half of medieval Europe's population. And why, you may ask, do I mention this. No I am not (yet) a carrier of this deadly illness, but I have discovered that it's still around. But more of that later.

Because there are of course good things to say about Mongolia. As I sit here in an internet "cafe" in the charming town of Moron, I have time to reflect of the people, the scenery and the questionable foodstuffs. I've trekked around beautiful volcanic crater lakes, walked amongst the ger spotted green rolling hills and shared hot milk with local families. I've also taken 2500 photos (so far). There are also the less fantastic things. The clever short cut I took which involved crossing a ridiculous lava plain of razor sharp rocks. The river crossing which took 5 hours due to crossing the wrong river(twice) and the rainy season starting early. And of course our little problem last night. We were approaching the last bridge before Moron when we noticed some sort of checkpoint. Strangely it appeared that all the staff had face masks, many had full chemical warfare style suits and no-one was getting through. Through our Mongolian fixer we discovered there was an outbreak of marmet (a small furry creature) carried plague. These are the same beasts which are partially blamed for the Black Death and bubonic plague is not much fun at any time. We spent 3 hours at the checkpoint for no apparent reason until we were finally allowed through. We were only required to disinfect ourselves by wiping our feet on a bathmat. I'm not sure how effective this measure will be. Anyway that's all as I think I've got a bit of a fever coming on.

This was originally written on 07 August 2007. It is from my summer trip from Beijing to Birmingham.


Blogger Blacker said...

good. im writing from mongolia.

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