The bus from Ulan-Ude arrived late evening when the Mongolian autumn was at its full strength (or so I believed).
I always find it fascinating and exciting to reach a place completely new to me. A mix of thrill for the unknown things to come and the fact of being in this precise geographical location, certainly unimaginable just few years ago.
Walking from the bus station, I talked to a guy on his way back home from the factory where he works. In summer he works as a travel guide but now it’s too cold for tourists.
To his question of why I came to Mongolia in November when everyone comes in summer, I replied half-jokingly “because nobody else does”.
He laughed and we went on to chat for another hour as the traffic jam lengthened our journey together.
From this very first interaction, I knew that the warmth and friendliness of the people I would meet in Mongolia would strongly contrast its biting and unwelcoming cold.
The heavy traffic and frozen streets made it even more enjoyable getting lost in the various back streets of Ulanbataar, where surprised looks of passersby filled the silence.