epic battle

October, 2008. Bayan-Olgii, Mongolia. A half dozen of my Peace Corps buddies and I went on a serious roadtrip from Ulaanbaatar to Bayan-Olgii by public bus. The trip took 52 hours, driving on dirt tracks through the steppe in a Russian microbus for periods up to 13-hours without a bathroom break. We went to Bayan-Olgii in order to attend Eagle Fest (more info coming in subsequent posts) in the capital city of Olgii in the far corner of Western Mongolia.Western Mongolia, the region of Bayan-Olgii in particular, has a large Kazakh population.

Right before this photo was taken, some of my Peace Corps friends and I were chatting and playing with a group of local Kazakh children. When I took this photo, my good friend Brian Offenther (RPCV Mongolia ’07-09) was in the middle of a ‘karate battle’ with a local 8-year-old and the boy’s dog. Brian had recently bought an embroidered Kazakh cloak, and he was sporting it during this photo. I like this shot for a number of reasons. I love how the angle of the ‘ninjas’ arms mirror each other perfectly, I love how you can see the dozen or so cracking up as they watch the mock battle royale, and thirdly, it’s just absurd.

www.chrisdebruyn.com

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2 thoughts on “epic battle

  1. Nice site layout & photos. Interestingly, a work colleauge (just last night) gave me a coffee table photo book (like a magazine) of the 100 places to visit in the world before they dissapear. I only flipped through it briefly but noticed that the one spot in Mongolia it mentioned was Bayan Ulgi. I wasn’t expecting to run into it on your site… it certainly is a destination off the beaten path…

    • Indeed it is. I would say it was like taking a time machine back 150 years to the wild west, but it was even more than that. When interacting with the Eagle Hunters especially it was like walking into a comic book with superheroes all around.

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