Posted by: Megan | June 25, 2007

Mongolia Monsoon

‘I am on a road to nowhere…’ Standing in the midst of Mongolia, with the horizon stretched out as far as the eye could see it seemed only appropriate at the time to bellow out such a tune. The thing is, I had gone somewhere … ‘Somewhere‘ I can only imagine where the meaning of true adventure was derived! ‘Somewhere‘, should the iconic western movie-making star John Wayne still be alive today, I’d suspect have plans of his own to get caught up in a monsoon of dust created by a platoon of Nomads on horseback!

festivaldust.jpg

My time in Mongolia not only met my expectation of a land that seemed truly ‘out there’ and headed nowhere in particular but too met me with an experience never to be forgotten –  as a spectator of The Naadam Festival. A ‘festival’, that started in 1921 to commemorate the revolution that year when Mongolia declared itself a free country. A ‘festival‘, now held every summer between July 11 and 13th at the Central Stadium in the country’s capital – Ulaanbaatar. And … a ‘festival‘ that again I’m sure, should John Wayne still be alive, would have given up his American ways for a taste of Yak Butter and nights slept under the blaze of stars in a traditional Ger (tent) all for a go at competing in the Horse Racing – one of the three manly (and main) games of the festival! Should though his ‘brown wears’ have lost him in a cloud of dust against his extravagantly colourful comrades on horseback … that, I’m not sure!

Three days of accumulating dust, and looking anything other than glamorous fashion on the field was part and parcel of being in attendance of this amazing festival. It was a great way to interact with the locals by helping to cheer on their heroes as hoards of horses galloped towards me, the songs of praise heard after a win of wrestling, and the arrows fired from as far away as 75 meters with cries of ‘hit the target’ heard as the arrow flew into mid air!

The Naadam Festival could be summed up as a paradise for photographers in their quest to capture some of the world’s greatest moving images – provided they had one of the world’s greatest lens cleaners!

Personally, I don’t think I could ever be seen now at a festival anything less than exciting as Naadam.

For your own John Wayne come Nomadic experience click here: 

arrowshot.jpg  lineup1.jpg        

handshot.jpg   costumes.jpg      

cowboy.jpg  youngrider.jpg

scene.jpg  oldnomad.jpg

resting.jpg  amazinghat.jpg

readytogo.jpg  inmotion.jpg
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Responses

  1. Great Photos Megan. are these yours?

  2. Yes they sure are! I aspire to be a National Geographic photographer and the festival was a perfect opportunity to take great pix! Thanks for the comment!


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