Saturday, May 16, 2009


We've spent most of this week traveling to northern Mongolia and conducting training
and testing in three cities -- Darkhan, Erdenet and Sukhbaatar. Thought we'd just do a quick blog to let you know we are back -- very tired but back -- and share a couple of quick pictures.

Among the many new things we saw, was our first camels. These are young camels and haven't developed their humps, yet -- Mongolian camels have two. You might notice that they are still shedding their heavy winter wool and look a bit scraggly. But it was fun to see them and they seemed nearly as curious about us as we were about them.

Then we were surprised, in all honesty, to find cultivated fields that would rival the big farms of the Midwest in the United States. We saw mile after mile of fields similar to those pictured here. We also saw a variety of equipment used to cultivate those fields, from very large old Russian tractors, to old caterpillar type machines, to very new looking, eight wheel, enclosed cab John Deere tractors. We think most of these fields are wheat. We have seen Mongolian flour in most of the local stores.

And the last picture is the most important, or course -- at least if you ask Sister Caldwell. It provides notice of the only real 'rest stop' in all of Mongolia. And while it still would not measure up to most U.S. most U.S. reststops, it is far better than the 'three holers' we saw scattered along the way. Those three holers were just off the roadside and the only thing approximating a door on them, was a little half wall built in front of them which managed to mostly hide the occupants. Sort of.

This one was a real rest room, though not in a great state of repair. The above picture hangs on the outside wall of the building and is rather large, easily visible from the highway. No mistaking what this building was for!

We'll post more about our trip later.