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Sweet After Bitter: Сайн байна уу Mongolia!

“I really want to see the starry sky in the desert.”
“Me too!”

In the beginning, it was just all about stars. Only with the goal of “standing under the starry sky in the desert,” one of my dearest friends, So-jeong, and I made a promise to visit Mongolia some day in the future. It took about one and a half years for us to make that promise come true. In the extremely hot summer of 2018, four friends of mine including So-jeong and I got on a plane heading for Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia.

As our ultimate goal of the travel was to stand under the starry sky in the desert, our final destination of the travel was the Gobi, one of the largest and greatest deserts in the world, which is located in the southern part of Mongolia. As good things come hard, however, the way to the Gobi was very rough; all the experience on the way to the Gobi was so precious and unforgettable.

Only a few days before we went to Mongolia, there was an unprecedented amount of rainfall all over the country. Regions that were usually dry such as the desert area had been stricken by the heavy rain. In particular the unpaved route to the Gobi was the biggest victim of the rainfall. Huge puddles and bogs lay over the area, and those wetlands were the most dangerous enemy to four-wheeled machines and lots of people.

Inevitably, our car also encountered a gigantic puddle soon after we departed for the Gobi in earnest. The tragedy already seemed to be started – one truck was trapped in the bog and another car was trying to pull it out – but we had no choice but to cross that puddle because it was too large to detour. All of my friends prayed for a safe crossing. Soon after our car touched the watery land, however, the wheels started to turn meaninglessly and our car was caught in the trap of Mother Nature.

No matter how hard our driver tried to get our car out of the muddy earth the car with five young men and all their bags was losing its battle to nature. As several hours went by with no such progress, all of us started to feel a little bit frustrated at the fact that maybe we might not be able to reach the Gobi. This was, however, only the beginning of the story which I would like to call “the miracle in Mongolia.”

Even though the puddle was located somewhere in the wild plain, some cars started to show up and helped the cars to escape from the bog. Eventually, four cars ended up being trapped in the bog while helping each other, but the people never gave up. After about seven hours of confinement and with the help of two additional cars, all of the cars were able to stand on the dry land again.

In fact, being caught in the middle of somewhere in the wild plain for as long as seven hours was such a frightening experience. Our schedule for the Gobi was delayed two days as well because of that incident and the bad condition of the road which was waiting for us. However, our trip became much richer and much funnier thanks to those unexpected and unforgettable memories. Of course, the starry sky we eventually discovered in the Gobi was incredibly beautiful.

The 2018 Mongolia trip was a tough one for sure, but now I think I understand why people pack their bags for Mongolia. I sincerely look forward to the moment I buy my plane ticket to Ulaanbaatar again in the near future. дараа уулзая (See you again), Mongolia!

Incredible Stars in the Night Sky of the Gobi (Lee So-jeong)

박민주  minju5142@naver.com

<저작권자 © THE SUNGKYUN TIMES, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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