Orjan returns

Orjan and hedgehog

Orjan is a Swedish PhD student who works at the base camp of our long-term research project in Mongolia.  These are his adventures…

After a nice trip where I got to see Helsinki and Beijing, I finally arrived in Ulaanbataar this afternoon. It’s good to be back, but at the same time I feel a little heavy-hearted. It’s the same feeling as in the armed service, when we came back to the regiment after a weekend at home, knowing that there would be a long exercise in field. The hardest part, though, is packing all the gear. As soon as it starts, one will adapt and enjoy it as best as possible. I’m looking forward to setting up camp and start up the fieldwork again, though the thought of not showering in six months…Brrr…

Mongolia´s kindest man (or close to at least), Byamba, picked me up at the airport, and we drove off to investigate the market for Japanese motorbikes in Ulaanbaatar. This was quite a task last winter, when we bought the Yamaha bike. It didn’t start too good this time: the Yamaha dealer has stopped selling bikes, but he had one left – the same model we bought last time. It’s a nice bike, but we had to take it to UB for maintenance twice in six months. Not the best choice when it takes two days to transport the bike. One way. Even so, I tried the bike, and it felt great to be back in the saddle. So to speak.

The only thing worth telling about the trip was that I past three Chinese SWAT police officers in Beijing airport. I am not sure what SWAT stands for, but I guess it is “Special Weapon…something”. The Chinese SWAT officers were neither big nor armed; one of them was actually a tiny girl with big glasses. But to compensate for their size and lack of weapons, they had two K-9 dogs with them. Cocker Spaniels, with scarves around their necks bearing the text “Police Dog”…

Either someone has watched too many Hollywood movies and thinks “SWAT” sounds cool, or the Beijing airport is a very safe place. I don’t think Cocker Spaniels would do the trick in L.A.

Still, I didn’t dare to giggle. It could be that they have black belts in eight different martial arts disciplines and would brake all my bones before I could say “Nice puppy”.

We will leave for field this weekend.


  1. Good luck with that Yamaha: if the dealers are gone parts will start becoming an issue sometime soon. Good luck out there in the field: up here it’s just a chilly wind and I’m freezing my butt off. SWAT stands for Special Weapons and Tactics by the way. Not that the chinese need a term like that. The way those guys train they will probably have broken everything that’s not bolted down with their foreheads.

    props for all the good work you guys do out there

  2. Nice to hear that you are back in the field again and I look forward to hear about the first capure, a female:O) Good luck and take care.

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