Saturday, August 24, 2002

Well, Burkhan Khaldun was indeed a romp – great three days, but the next day I went to the Russian Embassy to get a visa for my trip to the Russian Altai and got abruptly shot down. The invitation from a well-known tourist agency in Moscow was declared "not valid." The official did not really even look at it; it was just a snap judgment. "Anyone could have made these documents on a computer in ten minutes," he said, and that was that. "Next person!" So that’s life: one day you are bumping your head on Orion and knocking askew the Big Dipper with your elbows and the next day you’re mired in the cloaca maxima of existence.

Now comes word that Russia will not issue the Dalai Lama a visa either, so his trip to Mongolia scheduled for September 4-9 looks like it will be cancelled. He cannot get here except through Russia. So I am not the only one who cannot get a Russian visa. The excuse the Russian government gave for not giving the Dalai Lama a visa was that it might offend the Chinese government. It’s a sad, sad day spectacle indeed to see the once mighty country of Russia shamelessly and spinelessly kowtowing to China like this.

Back to Burkhan Khaldun . . . It was very hot in the lower Kherlen valley around the confluence of Terelj Creek and the Kherlen where the ger of my friend Zevgee is located, but it could not have been nicer up in the mountains. (Zevgee is the character named Sampildendev in my Book). His Wife went along so he was on his best behavior. It did rain when we got to the top of the mountain but this always happens. It happened the last time I was there and Zevgee says it happens every time someone makes an offering to the mountain. The mountain, he says, "sanctified us." For more details and photos see Burkhan Khaldun.

No comments: