Showing posts with label Zevgee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Zevgee. Show all posts

Friday, January 13, 2017

Mongolia | Bayankhongor | Camel Festival | Shoovoi

I was sitting at an outdoor table at a cafe in Istanbul enjoying the first appearance of the sun after a Huge  Blizzard. Skimming the news on the internet while sipping a demitasse of Turkish coffee I saw this headline: Camel Festival Takes Place In Mongolia. Clicking on the story I read:
“A ten-year-old male camel belonging to herder Shoovoi from the Shinejinst soum (district) has been named ‘Best camel’ of the year. A total of 22 male camels took part in a competition in which they were rated on their appearance.”
It just  so  happens I know Shoovoi and have even ridden one of his camels. I first met him on a camel trip I did in Bayankhongor Aimag back in 1999. He is married to the sister of my old pal Zevgee (now Deceased), with whom I did Twelve Horse And Camel Trips over the years. Zevgee was born in Bayankhongor Aimag but later moved to Töv Aimag, where his wife is from. He told me that he still had five brothers and a sister in  Bayankhongor and that two of his brothers and his brother-in-law were famous for their camels. Eventually we traveled to Bayankhongor by jeep and hired camels from his brothers Davakhüü and Khaidav. Then both Davakhüü and Khaidav accompanied us on a 124 miles camel trip from near the sum center of Shinejinst to the sacred mountain of Segs Tsagaan Bogd Uul the Chinese border.
Halfway through the camel trip south to Segs Tsagaan Bogd Uul we made a detour to visit Zevgee’s sister and Shoovoi, who at the time were camped with their sheep, goat, and camel herds at a tiny spring in an extremely remote area northeast of Ekhiin Gol Oasis.
 Shoovoi, camel herder extraordinaire,  and his wife, Zevgee’s sister
 Zevgee’s sister
We stayed the night and Shoovoi killed a goat and his wife made khorkhog for us. To prepare this classic Mongolian dish an entire goat (not including head and innards) is cut up and put into a big milk can along with rocks heated in a campfire. The can is then tightly sealed. The hot rocks and the steam that builds up in the milk can cooks the meat. After an hour or two of cooking the can is  rolled across the desert floor for twenty or thirty minutes. This tenderizes the meat. Then with great care—quite a lot of steam pressure has built up— the can is opened.
Khorkhog in serving dish. According to tradition you should always juggle one of the hot rocks in your left hand while eating with the right hand.  This allows you to absorb the full essence of the goat.
Over the years I visited Shoovoi and his wife twice more and they always offered to cook a goat for us. On one trip we used some of his camels.
 Shoovoi, on the right, behind the camel, helping us pack a load on a later camel trip to Shar Khuls Oasis in Bayankhongor. This guy knows more about camels than you or I will know in one hundred lifetimes. 
 At the start of the trip to Shar Khuls Oasis. The white camel, which I rode, belonged to Shoovoi.
 Zevgee and his wife at Shar Khuls Oasis.  The two magnificent Bayankhongor camels belonged to his brother Davakhüü. Bactrian camels are, of course, the most noble of all four-legged creatures, and more noble than many two-legged creatures  (click on photo for enlargement). 
 Camels. You can’t help but love them (click on photo).
Camels on parade at the 2017 Camel Festival. Shoovoi’s camel won the “Best Camel of the Year” award (not my photo).

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mongolia | Töv Aimag | Baga Nuur | Zevgee’s Family

Wandered on out to Baga Nuur to visit the family of my friend Zevgee, who recently transmigrated. My last visit to Baga Nuur, to celebrate Women’s Day, was a happier occasion.
Saraa, Zevgee’s wife Tümen-Ölzii, Zevgee and Enkha  celebrating Women’s Day
This time Zevgee was no longer with us, but I did have the opportunity of meeting up once again with his family members, many of them from Bayankhongor Aimag, where Zevgee was born. 
 Five of Zevgee’s brothers, to the right, in Baga Nuur
A few years ago I did a camel trip from Amarbuyant Khiid in Bayankhongor to Shar Khuls Oasis with Zevgee, his wife, and two of his brothers, Davakhüü and Khaidav, following the Route Of The 13th Dalai Lama and The Roerich Expedition.  
Khaidav, Zevgee’s son Bira, his brother-in-law Shoovoi, and Davakhüü loading a camel at Amarbuyant Khiid
 Davakhüü and Khaidav with four of their magnificent camels at Amarbuyant Khiid
 Zevgee, Khaidav, and Davakhüü taking a rest break in the Gobi
Davakhüü, Zevgee, Khaidav, and Tümen-Ölzii (standing) at the ovoo of The Ja Lama at Ekhiin Gol Oasis. Assistant Camel Wrangler, Historical Consultant, and Fox Zolzaya is sitting front right. 
Khaidav with his grandchildren at his ger in Bayankhongor
 Zevgee’s sister in Baga Nuur. We stayed at her ger in Bayankhongor Aimag and she and her husband Shoovoi cooked a goat with hot rocks—a dish known as Khorkhog—for us in honor of our visit. 
Khorkhog. The entire goat (not including head and innards) is cut up and cooked with heated rocks in a big milk can. This is the serving dish. You should always juggle one of the hot rocks in your left hand while eating with the right hand. 
Zevgee’s sister with her husband Shoovoi in Bayankhongor
 Another one of Zevgee’s brothers
  Another one of Zevgee’s brothers
  Another one of Zevgee’s brothers. This man was once the mayor of Shinejinst, a village in Bayankhongor Aimag. We stayed at his ger at the beginning of our camel trip.  
Ger in Shinejinst where we stayed

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mongolia | Töv Aimag | Zevgee — 1938–2011

Zevgee (1938–2011)
My good friend Zevgee transmigrated on the Full Moon Day of May 17, which by coincidence (or maybe not) was the day of Vesak, the Buddhist holiday observing the Buddha's Birth, Enlightenment, and Death, and also, according to Some Interpretations, the anniversary of the day the Buddha first taught the Kalachakra Tantra.

I first met Zevgee in 1997, as described in Part Three of my book Travels in Northern Mongolia. I eventually did twelve Horse or Camel Tripwith him, including a horse trip last summer to Onon Hot Springs. He will be missed. 
 Zevgee last summer at Onon Hot Springs
Zevgee, with his wife and two brothers at Shar Khuls Oasis