Mongolia 2014

“There are more animals than men, so they still have the world as God made it, and the men are noble synthesis of Genghis Khan, the warrior, and the Dalai Lama, the gentle religious leader.” –  Zahava Hanan

“Their ancestors lived in the same way for a thousand years, feeling the change of the seasons like moods and moving with them. Their knowledge of this land is ancient, the wind is their breath, the earth is their bed, and the dust of the steppe runs in their blood.” –  Ian. D. Robinson

What inspired my trip to Mongolia?

In the book Wind-Up Bird’ by Haruki Murakami, an old soldier, Lieutenant Mamiya, tells a story about his activities in Mongolia during the 1930s wartime.  While on a spy mission in enemy territory, his outfit is captured by Mongolian and Russian soldiers.  After being forced to watch one of his comrades skinned alive, Mamiya is left to die at the bottom of a well.  The images that came into my mind listening to this story made me want to see Mongolia with my own eyes.  I also wanted to learn more about the Thirteenth Century Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan who worshiped the sky as a God and declared it the power source as he built the world’s most expansive empire. I was interested to see if anything remained from those days of glory.

My book recommendations

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, by Jack Weatherford

Genghis Khan, Emperor of All Men, by Harold Lamb

The Bloody White Baron, The Russian Nobleman Who Became the Last Khan of Mongolia, by James Palmer

The Hollow Bone: A Field Guide to Shamanism, by Colleen Deatsman

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel, by Haruki Murakami