My dear friends, Cazz and Aims, purchased a scratch map for my birthday. The idea is that every time you travel to a different county, you scratch the country off the map.
At first I loved the map. Loved it! The gift is just so unique and thoughtful – purchased in July, months before my birthday. But after staring at the map for a few hours, I’ve begun to fear it. THE MAP, which will henceforth only be referred to in capital letters, has warped my travel priorities. Instead of travelling to countries with stunning beaches, amazing architecture or delicious food, I now only want to travel to counties that cover the largest land mass. Places like China, Russia and Mongolia.
It was with these new travel destinations in mind, that at eleven ‘o clock last night, I found myself unearthing my coffee-table book on Asia and delving into history and peculiarities of these nations. Here’s what I learnt about Mongolia:
“If you’ve come to Mongolia in search of a good barbeque you’ll be sorely disappointed. The ‘Mongolian barbeque’ familiar back home is a modern Chinese creation which never existed in Mongolia. An authentic ‘Mongolian barbeque’ consists of a gutted marmot stuffed full of scalding hot rocks and singed from the outside with a blowtorch. Be careful: in autumn (late August through September) marmots carry the bubonic plague.”
It’s safe to assume that Mongolia is no longer on my travel destinations list.