Gobi Spring Break?!
In late March and early April, the English Olympics are just about all the average TEFL Volunteer can talk about. I’m almost certain I gave you an explanation last year, but I’ll just offer a bit of a refresher course: It’s a national competition where a school’s best 9th and 11h grade students take tests written by the Ministry of Education and Culture in Ulaanbaatar. The winning students in each aimag go on to the national competition in UB just a few weeks later.
It’s a nice excuse for us soumers to drag our pale features (and even paler social skills) out of our gers and into the spring sun for the first time since November, and this year was no different. It was a pleasant surprise that I got to tag along with some other Volunteers on their tour of the Gobi’s highlights: Yoliin-am, Khongor Sand Dunes, and the Flaming Cliffs.
As we all agreed, this past week was one of those extremely rare times a) when everything seems to work out perfectly in Mongolia in terms of transportation, timing, and weather, and b) that we always expected to have during our Peace Corps service, but only get to enjoy on particularly wonderful occasions. We basically managed a crash course in Gobi tourism in about 4 days–a feat for any guided trip around Mongolia’s desert.
I’ve got plenty of pictures for you all below!