Getting High on High Grounds
At the end of the late dinner in Ancient Resort at Lake Khovsgol, our cheeky guide Saruul threw us a surprise by bringing in a big bottle of Chinggis Gold Vodka out of the blue! He must have seen us downing cups of vodka and whisky the previous few days and deduced that we are alcohol lovers! Well, it was nice gesture that we could not turn it down.
So he toasted to us and we toasted back. Very soon we started to pour each other big servings of vodka (interestingly, the vodka was served in wine glasses) and egging each other to finish in single gulps as we realized he was a good drinker and could knock us out anytime. In less than 20 mins, the whole bottle of 1 litre vodka was emptied and by then some of us were already high to cloud nine. Funnily, we are good drinkers back in Singapore I thought. Then I realised we were at 1600 meters above sea level. That could be the reason we got tipsy easily due to lesser oxygen intake! So another lesson learnt – One must watch one’s alcohol intake at high altitude places to avoid getting high and embarrassing yourself.
Huge Bonfire Finale
To cap off the wonderful two nights of stay in Lake Hovsgol (Lake Khovsgol), the resort owner got their staff to erect a bonfire (higher than the average human height) just for the guests. That night turned really cold but the bonfire and generosity of the Mongolians truly warmed our hearts.
We were told to make wishes by walking three times around the bonfire in clockwise direction. This is a Mongolian tradition and I do hope it works! Our dear Mr. Shi was so happy or high from the vodka that he brought out his last cigar hidden in his winter jacket. Once the cigar was lighted, Mr. Leong and Shi latched onto it like baby suckling a milk bottle. It was passed around and our guide Saruul took a puff and he immediately made a funny face before coughing out the smoke. I guess he does not like the taste of it after all!
We partied around the bonfire, taking photos, singing songs and making merry till late into night. This night really highlighted the end of our 8 Days Mongolia adventure tour and it has already got me thinking about making a second trip back soon.