Nicholas Quirke was awake early feeling bright and breezy for his trip into the mountains on 29th January 2020. It occurred to him how nice it was to rise and take a shower. After 5 days in virtually the same clothes on the train washing was a really longed for treat. He really couldn’t believe how lucky he was to have found a host so generous with his time , and when Haji appeared 15 minutes late for the agreed 8.30 breakfast time all mortified and full of apologies, ‘I have a 3 month old baby’ , Nicholas Couldn’t care less and cooed to the pictures of the amazingly cute infant with an astonishing growth of jet black hair. He was pleased to be getting out of the City. Seeing beyond it limits made the stop in Ulaan Baator truly worthwhile. They set off at 10 after breakfast and after He had completed some pieces of outstanding administration that needed his attention. It was a really nice be in a car again and even nicer to have the opportunity to spend quality time with a Mongolian and really learn about their life and culture. He learnt that Haji and his family were Buddhist and listened as he spoke with passion about his faith and his Guru and how to live life, he learned that dentistry was not a respected, though a necessary, profession in Mongolia. He took him through a mining city, of which the roads they went down were literally dirt tracks. Nicholas actually laughed out loud at the absurdity of roads like that existing. He showed him the countryside, and then expanse of land bathers in snow. Really wonderful scenery and when they came upon the Genghis Kahn monument, rising like colossus from the mountains he was quite awed. When the communists were in power, Genghis Khan was a denounced character and Mongolian history subverted. In reclaiming their national hero, admittedly a ferocious warmongering individual, a genius leader, first Emperor and founder of the Mongol Empire, a monumental statue was erected to firmly assert the Mongolian heritage. To be able to climb inside the statue and emerge on the horses head to survey the wide inspiring landscape must be the equivalent Symbol, though maybe not as colossal, of the New World peering through the crown of the Statue of Liberty. Nicholas had a lovely time with Haji and despite the language difference they had many laughs, though that was halted when the police stopped the car and Haji was grilled for a good 10 minutes by them. They drove along the river which was completely frozen and was host to skaters and quad bikes.Once back at the apartment He decided that the last item on his agenda to see was the Gandam Monastry but as he set off he had an attack of the most painful sciatica so he had to turN back and go home. He had arranged to eat a last supper with Slava and Kseniya and they went to a traditional restaurant where he tried another version of the national dish. He was going to miss his new friends and he felt quite sad saying goodbye to them. On returning to the Guest House, he was feeling very morose. Sad he was to be leaving a place where he felt comfortable and safe, leaving friends and going off on his own. He asked Haji about getting a taxi to the station in the morning, as he needed to be there by 6.30 and Haji immediately called and set one up for him. Why were people so nice to to him, did he look like he was incapable and lost. Nicholas was nervous about what did lie ahead, about getting into China, the immigration process, The virus situation, to be going in instead of going out as everyone else was and he conveyed his uncertainty to Haji. He started to pack his bags and heard a knock at his door. Haji appeared with the gift of a crystal to wear around his neck. ‘This will keep you safe’ he said, ‘This will protect you’. Nicholas almost wept he was so touched by the gesture, Haji even offered to come and take him to the station but Nicholas was adamant he would be Ok. He spoke with his sister and Mother about the practical things at the flat and was relieved that the electrics weren’t going to cost thousands. They talked about going into China and the spread of the virus. He remained undeterred . He had come this far and the reports from Qi and Lyusaku were of a calm and quiet place In Beijing. He felt more cheerful after talking with his mother and sister and he now had his cross, his Jasper stone and Hajis crystal.; totems and wishes from family and friends to help guide and protect him into whatever he was about to step into.