AFC Flag Expedition, 2009

Naadam, Day 1

Breakfast at 7:30am. Everyone met in the lobby at 8:30 and then it was off to Sukhbaatar Square for the  beginning of the day’s Naadam activities.

Costumed horsemen escorted the horse tail banners around the Parliament building and then on to the National Stadium, as did we.

Got there early enough to pick and choose our seats.

Opening ceremonies got underway at 11am. The whole stadium was a riot of color, both because of the costumes of the participants and also the umbrellas of the spectators since it decided to rain for a short while.

The horsemen came in with the horse tail banners and placed them in a stand. The President of Mongolia gave a short address. Then there were displays of horsemanship,  children doing a ribbon dance and wonderful music by the orchestra.

When it was over we piled back into our bright yellow Nomadic Journeys van and drove about 90 minutes east to experience a local Naadam. It was raining pretty good when we got there, but stopped just as the horses came into view. We had gotten there in time to see the end of the horse race. Had some airag and watched the wrestling finals. Took many photos of horses and their riders. The jockeys are boys and girls under ten. The horses in this race were two year olds. Prizes go the the first five to finish and the last.

We went to a ger in the village and were treated to airag, vodka, aruul, cheese and khuusuur, fried mutton turnovers.

Stopped at the new giant statue of Chinggis Khan on the way back.

Got back to the hotel at ten till eight. A long, but interesting and worthwhile day.

And here are pictures of it all:

Note- due to time limitations, these are as I took them, no cropping or adjustments except for a couple which were on the dark side.

First, the national Naadam-

Horse tail standards being brought out of Parliament building

Horse tail standards being brought out of Parliament building

Yak tail standards proceeding around Suhkbaatar Square

Horse tail standards proceeding around Suhkbaatar Square

Two ladies wearing del at Suhkbaatar Square

Two ladies wearing del at Suhkbaatar Square

National Stadium

National Stadium before the crowds arrive

Yak standards entering stadium

Horse tail standards entering stadium

Fabulous costumes

Fabulous costumes

Naadam officials

Naadam officials

Orchestra and conductor

Orchestra and conductor

President of Mongolia

President of Mongolia addresses crowd; had to take photo through a support

Listening to the President

Listening to the President

Ribbon dance

Ribbon dance

Horsemanship

Horsemanship

Procession of Mongol national flags

Procession of Mongolian national flags

Display of Mongol flags

Display of Mongolian flags

Making Naadam memories

Making Naadam memories

Balloons for sale outside National Stadium

Balloons for sale outside National Stadium

Mongol man kneeling outside of National Stadium

Mongol man kneeling outside of National Stadium

Then it was on to the 90 minute drive to the local Naadam-

Racers coming in; rain stopped shortly after I took this picture

Racers coming in; rain stopped shortly after I took this picture

Almost to the finish

Almost to the finish

Girls race right along with the boys

Girls race right along with the boys

A group coming to the finish

A group coming to the finish

Heading for the finish

Heading for the finish, but then it was time for wrestling....

Local Naadam stadium with wrestling

Local Naadam stadium with wrestling

Mongol wrestling

Mongol wrestling

Eagle dance after wrestling

Eagle dance after wrestling

Group of riders

Group of riders; took a lot of horse and rider pics while waiting for race results

Local family

Local family

Local rider

Local rider

Waiting for the horse race results

Waiting for the horse race results; then the winners started to appear

A race winner

A race winner

Jockey won a rug for mom

Jockey won a rug for mom

One of the racers

One of the racers

The winner of the race

The winner of the race

Local Naadam horses going home

Local Naadam horses going home

Tour group in ger for "snacks"

Tour group in ger for "snacks"

Mongol snacks: mutton with fat; aruul stacked on bread

Mongol snacks: mutton with fat; aruul stacked on bread

We stopped at this incredible statue on the way back to Ulaanbaatar-

Giant Chinggis Khan statue facing towards his birthplace to the east

Giant Chinggis Khan statue facing towards his birthplace to the east

Chinggis statue detail

Chinggis statue detail

Chinggis' view

Chinggis' view

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