Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Off to cold things again...

I first went to Mongolia in 1998, my first big Asia trip. We didn't see any tourist for 3 months, during an epic trip to the west, walking, hitchhiking on coal trucks, camel riding over deserts, anything that could help us go forward. We flew back in a russian airplane, standing and drinking vodka at take off, dodging the luggage falling off the open compartiment. Then, of course, I really fell in love with Mongolia.

I have been back on assignments a few times since then. Once to do a horse story for a german magazine, once for an eagle story for another German magazine, and once for now defunct National Geographic Adventure magazine. That particular assignment revolved around a gigantic salmon called Taimen. You can see some images here, on the National Geographic website. We met a bunch of scientist a few hours drive from the quirky named Moron town. I was teamed up with some "big fish", writer David Quammen. We met over a nice red wine and quickly became friend, a great easy going guy to work with.

But all this time, I was never in Mongolia in the middle of winter. So, I recently got myself a nice full body fleece and I am off tomorrow, to the Gobi desert. I will be back in 2 weeks, hopefully with all my extremities. In fact, Mongolia just got its coldest winter in 30 years, with -50 temperatures.