Michael A. Firman
Mongolia - Nomads

Some Nomads...

Albert (one of the expedition participants) had brought along a Poloroid camera and had been taking pictures of various people (mostly the Nomad children) that we ran into along the way. He would present them with the results as a little gift. Soon the word spread, and we got a few more visitors in camp. Here are three young boys that came up on three young horses to check us out and to get pictures to take back.

Some Children
Another Shot of the Boys

Notice the way the front two legs of this horse are bound. This is the common way of staying horses out in the Gobi, sort of a Mongolian kick-stand.

One of the Boy's Little Horses

Here is another Nomad child that we encountered while we were out in Yol Valley National Park (in the Altai Mountains). This is a very green area in the Omnogov state (which is mostly desert). The full name of this area is Yolyn Am which means Vulture's Mouth. This name may have come from the indigenous Lammergeiers, a very large vulture like raptor that inhabits this valley.

A Nomad Child in Yolyn Am

These two fellows dropped into camp after the word spread about the Poloroid camera. Actually the fellow in the forground came by on a horse to the dig site that I was working on a few hours before this picture was taken. He and his friends (there were two other adults and one child) came up on a horse and a very beat up motorcycle. None of them spoke English (and of course I didn't know more than about five Mongolian words). They were, However, quite clear as to their desires (i.e. to have a Poloroid shot taken). I could not convince them that I didn't have the camera and that if only they would go back to our camp (where the two Gers were set up) in a couple of hours they would find the fellow (Al) who did have the device. They offered me a horse ride, a motocycle ride, vodka, etc. in their attempt to get me to take their picture. Finally we seemed to come to some understanding about the issue (I also somehow relinquished an ice-pick in the deal). This fellow was also responsible for sending over some airag (a fermented mares milk drink that is very popular in the Gobi) for us the next day.

Two Visitors (photo by Trixie Anders)