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Click here to listen to this programmeListen to Excess Baggage for 21 February 2004

MONGOLIA
21 February 2004
Presented by Caroline Wyatt

Image: Mongolian child, smiling


Mongolia is one of the few countries left that can be explored with a true spirit of adventure. Open to the western world only since 1990, this 'Land of Blue Sky' offers excellent horse or camel riding, thrilling festivals such as the renowned Naadam, and a heritage steeped in rich culture and tradition.

Guests
John Man is a historian and traveller with a special interest in Mongolia.  He travelled around the country for about 2 months and during that time became fascinated with the figure of Genghis Khan.  He says that as you travel around the Gobi you simply can't avoid the man, he is intrinsically a part of the place.  The beer is named after him, the football teams are named after him, the pop bands are named after him.  He is the hero of the country - a demigod.  John will speak about the position Genghis holds in the country today and his personal quest.
"Genghis Khan - Life, Death and Resurrection" by John Man, published by Bantam Press  ISBN: 0593050444

Louisa Waugh says she always had a fascination with Mongolia even as a child.  She is not sure where this came from, but she always had the pictures in her head of the steppe landscape, the Mongolian Nomad with an Eagle on his shoulder and living in a ger. Above all she says it is the attraction of the emptiness, the space and the silence. She was offered a job teaching English in Bayan Olgii a remote settlement in the West of the country.  She spent a full year living a partially nomadic lifestyle in the harsh and remote area.
"Hearing Birds Fly - A Nomadic Year in Mongolia" by Louisa Waugh published by Little Brown ISBN: 0-316-86170-7

Matthew Bell had been working for a children's charity in London in 1999 when he was asked if he wanted to go to Mongolia.  'When?' he asked. 'Next week' they said.  So in September 1999 he found himself on an Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Ulaan Baatar.  Matthew has never been quite sure about Mongolia as a place to live.  He found his time in the country bizarre and challenging.  He met hitch-hikers in desert wilderness, had his flat burgled but only his deodorant stolen and has severe reservations about the food.

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Sandi ToksvigSandi Toksvig:
The daughter of a foreign correspondent, Sandi has been travelling all her life more info

John McCarthy John McCarthy is a widely travelled journalist and presenter with a particular interest in the Middle East.
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