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Tent Town in the Wilderness

WE swallowed the usual unappetizing breakfast of watery tea and soggy mutton and rode off along the narrow bridle path as the sun began to disperse the mist. The scrub-covered hillside fell away in a steep slope and then came a level expanse of snow and ice still covering the river flats. On the far bank, a little more than two miles away, was a remarkable sight.

In the middle of the wilderness stood a little tented town. There were a number of large tents of military khaki, with high ridge poles and stove pipes sticking out of their roofs and with smoke curling out of the chimneys. Even more striking was a higgledy-piggledy cluster of bright yellow and white ultra-modern nylon tents shaped like igloos, and beyond them half a dozen brand new cross-country vehicles parked in a neat line.... We had come across the Gurvan Gol or Three Rivers Expedition, a joint Jap anese-Mongol project which was searching for a prize that would shake the world if ever found: the tomb of Genghis Khan.

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