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[ 28 Jun 2011 | One Comment ]

I’ve decided to re-print the edited email of my first motorcycle ride in honor of this afternoon’s return to motorcycle travel. This is the story of what happens when you’re forced to learn to ride a motorcycle in the nuttiest population center on the planet.

I was being pressured into a bigger and better adventure than simple backpacking. My friend “Big” and I were traveling through southeast Asia for a few months and we decided to rent bikes to get a …

Countries, Featured, Last Man Standing, Mongolia »

[ 28 Jun 2011 | One Comment ]

Mongolia is not a country where foreigners should expect to get things done in a hurry. I was suppose to have my motorcycle last night, but that was changed to this morning and then to “later this evening.” Setting up lodging is an equally cumbersome activity, wrought with promises that are rarely fulfilled. Then of course there is just the general communication breakdown that exists between speakers of a tonal language like Mongolian and a romance language like English. But …

Countries, Featured, Last Man Standing, Mongolia »

[ 25 Jun 2011 | One Comment ]
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He went a tournament best 4-1 in five matches at Saturday’s Mongolian World Team Trials, but Turtogtokh Luvsandorj still isn’t certain he’ll be representing his home country at September’s World Championships in Turkey. The Citadel junior who will wrestle 165 lbs. 174 lbs. in 2011, competed up at 84kg while only weighing in at 80kg. Turtogtokh has been my primary connection inside Mongolia.
Unlike the American World Team Trials the Mongolian tournament is not necessarily the final indicator of who will be …

Countries, Featured, Last Man Standing, Mongolia »

[ 23 Jun 2011 | No Comment ]

The main draw of the Nadaam Festival is the wrestling tournament, which in Ulan Bator this year will feature 1024 participants over three days. Of these, roughly half seem to be weighing in above 250 lbs. while the rest aren’t far off. Wrestling in Mongolia is the ultimate showcase of size and athleticism. These guys aren’t just the biggest guys in the country, they are some of the best athletes.
Winning is simple and rules are few; if you touch anything …

Countries, Featured, Last Man Standing, Mongolia »

[ 22 Jun 2011 | 3 Comments ]

I’ll save the photos and video of me strapped into one of these traditional Mongolian Bokh wrestling outfits until it’s absolutely necessary, but for edification purposes I’ve gone ahead and introduced the outfit by name and function. I’m back in Ulan Bator for the weekend to film the Mongolian World Team Trials and do some reporting. I head back into the countryside on Monday for more training and eating. In the meantime upload as much information as possible and try …

Featured, Last Man Standing, Mongolia »

[ 22 Jun 2011 | 3 Comments ]
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Part of my research in Mongolia is trying to understand what it is about wrestling that has kept the attraction of Mongolians for centuries. There are possible explanations in their landscape and lifestyle, and certainly their physical hardiness seems to play a role (though I’ve only been in and around UB…). However, one of the reasons (or is it result) I’ve seen is that Mongolians genuinely seem to enjoy participating in wrestling. That is, they love to wrestle.
Wrestling is different …

China, Countries, Featured, Last Man Standing »

[ 21 Jun 2011 | 2 Comments ]

China can be exhausting and one random weekday night I took a much-needed break from the nightlife of the city and downloaded some movies from iTunes. Yes, this is an adventure blog, but sometimes, you just need a vacation from your vacation.
I queued up the movie Blood Diamond starring a Rhodesian-accented Leo DiCaprio and the great eyebrows of Jennifer Connelly. For those who haven’t seen the movie, it’s essentially about J-Cons work as a journalist to uncover the story behind the sale …

China, Featured, Last Man Standing »

[ 20 Jun 2011 | No Comment ]
Electric Bike/Scooter Thing

Crossing a road to grab a cup of coffee. Picking up the dry-cleaning. Walking into you hotel lobby. No place in China is safe from the electric motorbike. Unlike motorized scooters, which these hybrid bike replaced, there is no pollution, which conservative estimates claim contributed to the death of more than 750k Chinese a year. However, as goes the motor, so goes the sound, making these bikes nothing more than poorly aimed 80 lbs. missiles.
Of course, Chinese drivers are the …

Featured, Last Man Standing, Mongolia »

[ 18 Jun 2011 | No Comment ]
Chenggis Khan

If you’re reading this then you already know …  I’m wrestling Mongolians. But where before we could only use the written word to describe my project, there is now beautiful and convenient video. My four minute iMovie epic is up on Kickstarter, the site I’m using to crowdsource funding for my book about this adventure. Check out the video and back the project if you can, or just pass it along to your network of wrestlers, buddies that travel and wealthy …

China, Featured, Last Man Standing »

[ 14 Jun 2011 | No Comment ]

The Chinese have gotten pretty fancy in their effort to make an exact replica of everything the world has ever made. From tee shirts to aircraft carriers this is a country built on reverse engineering. It’s not just physical items either, you get the sense watching the evening news that they simply pasted over CNN’s logo and pushed play (though they did manage to remove much of the content as well…)
I’ve profited from the Chinese ability to recreate consumer items …