A Day in Dalanzadgad

Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs director Thea Boodhoo is documenting our latest mission in the Gobi. (You can help us cover some of the costs.)

The drive to Dalanzadgad was uneventful except for a few irresistible photo opps.

I’m writing from the Gobi Sands Hotel tonight in Dalanzadgad, Umnugovi Aimag – the southernmost aimag (province) of Mongolia, where tourists visit in the summer to see the Flaming Cliffs and other natural wonders like the Hongor Sand Dunes and the Gurvan Saikhan Mountains. Collectively, the attractions of the Gobi are Mongolia’s most popular tourist destination.

Right now, however, it’s not summer, and there are no tourists.

The view from our room at the Gobi Sands Hotel this morning. Why yes that is snow.

Note: If you want to beat the Spring Break crowds, this is definitely the place to go.

Happily, precipitation of any kind is considered good luck in the Gobi. After a team breakfast of bread with jam, fried eggs, and bantan (a traditional meat and rice soup), we made our way to our meeting with several officials from the local Parliament.

Binderiya translated for Dan, Walt and I, and Bolortsetseg did most of the talking. I don’t want to go into too much detail on what was discussed yet, but it went well. There are a number of open questions but we all left feeling really good about this important first step toward a museum and research center at the Flaming Cliffs.

The local press was also in attendance, and wouldn’t let Bolortsetseg leave for lunch without an interview.

Walt, Binderiya and I also met with some professionals from the local construction industry to get a feel for the architecture requirements.  We’ll use what we learned to form some initial estimates.

Our final meeting of the day was an informal one with the local museum director, after which we were treated to a tour of Dalanzadgad’s two museums: a cultural museum (with a few dinosaur specimens) and the Camel Museum.

I have to say, if you are ever in Dalanzadgad, definitely find the Camel Museum. You will not be disappointed.

Tomorrow, hopefully we make it to the Flaming Cliffs despite a dust storm warning and more snow. Wish us luck.

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