MONGOLIA VISIT WITH DG EUGENE
by President K C Wong
When I received the invitation to join DG Eugene on his official visit to Mongolia, I thought it was just another trip to China. Not until I started to work on travel arrangements with PP Andy Wong and did some desktop research that I realized Mongolia is a great up-and-coming country with rich history and heritage, dramatic scenery, resourceful and young population. It’s a place with immense potential, having its own currency Tugrug, own language Kazakh and its own airline Hunnu (which in Chinese means 匈奴 ).
After a 4.5 hour flight from Hong Kong plus a 1.5 hour domestic connection to South Gobi, I knew that our delegation was heading towards the coolest trip in a summer month. We had an interesting experience of changing weather with a few degrees Celsius in the early morning dropping to minus after sunset and a most comfortable fine weather of around 12-20 degrees Celsius during our daytime sightseeing in the Gobi desert. The unspoiled vast landscape was breathtaking with stunning sand dunes, eagle valley, dinosaur fossils and flaming cliff. Imagine when you use your iPhone‘s 360 degree panorama function, the only picture you can see is the mysterious endless desert.
Apart from climate contrast, I also saw huge difference in fellowship atmosphere. I must say it was one of the best fellowship evenings that I had for some years. After dining at a camp in the middle of vast plain wilderness, a place where water resource is limited, let alone Wi-Fi/4G access, everyone was having a hearty and attentive chat without anyone exercising fingers on their Smartphone or peeping onto the screen non-stop.
Back to Ulaanbaatar, the capital city, we were encircled with great hospitality from our fellow Mongolian Rotarians and their Rotaractors. It was a BBQ dinner and we were invited as judges on the food that the 9 local Rotaract Clubs had prepared. Well, the presentation of all dishes was excellent but some food tasted like frozen meat because they were kept outdoor throughout the night when the temperature fell below freezing point. Nonetheless, the invigorating and high-spirited young Rotaractors were amazingly ‘hot’.
The night before we embarked on our journey back home, DG Eugene hosted a Governor’s dinner together with the chartering of a new club, RC Nomt. The picture-perfect happy smiles of CP Ganbold, DG Eugene and Kitty, PDGs, Presidents and Rotarians of D3450 formed the best picture in everyone’s mind which I think is the most memorable out of the thousands pictures we took during this trip. I also heard that DG Eugene has actually visited Mongolia for 10 times already (maybe even 12 times) and I can understand the warm energetic Mongolian Rotarians/Rotaractors with their beautiful country setting would be irresistible for repeat visits.