Take a mixed bunch of people, both local and foreign, and drive out of the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar to attend a birthday party of a friend. How crazy is that?
Organizing a party can be a challenge even at the best of times, but how about inviting about 120 of your best friends, colleagues, school mates AND their families for a once-in-a-lifetime event somewhere in the Mongolian countryside?
Sounds like a caterer’s worst nightmare.
First you can’t expect everyone to join this madness, and planning 1 year in advance means some people will drop out during the process. But you’ll need to keep track of who’s coming and who’s not. And given they are coming from various parts of Europe and Asia, you’ll need to pin point a bunch of arrival and departure times.
Once you kind of finalize your list of attendees you’ll need to decide where to put them. And you’ll need to have enough vehicles to get them to your birthday bash.
When that happens to be set in Mongolia, you also need a camp with enough gers (traditional tents), water, and food, to keep the small army operating.
Only Sven Ernedal could pull of this kind of event planning.
Of course he had help from a local tour agency. But when it gets down to details like who is traveling in which car, and who is sleeping in which ger, you must have a project leader with his focus on the details.
With all that said, the birthday party went off without a hitch and it was a real blast. As you’d expect, lots of singing from the Swedish attendees, and lots of drinking by everyone. It was held in Mongolia after all!
Sven received gifts from his Mongolian colleagues, project partners, and friends, including traditional Mongolian clothes and a horse-head guitar.
It all ended with a disco of western music from the late 70s, 80s, 90s, and last decade, played late into the night under the open air and the star-filled Mongolian sky. Locals from the area came and joined in with their cool moves and passion for celebrating.
(Part 3 of Return to Mongolia, coming soon)