After Tilek took very good care of me in Khovd, including a home-cooked meal, some new friends and tons of instant coffee, I arrived safely in Olgii. It's about a 7hr drive, in a russian minibusvan. I'd heard these were pretty packed and uncomfortable, but mine actually only had the same number of people as seats, and I had about twice the legroom as the day before, so I was quite happy.
In Olgii, I was met by a Scot named Alistair who is working with Bek, my contact in the area. Bek's out of town currently, but Alistair and Beks family put me up for the night and explained the next step in the journey: I'll be leaving today to about 200k west, deeper into the wilds of Mongolia. There, my driver will drop me off and I'll stay with a nomadic Kazakh family for the next 10 days to two weeks (I still haven't decided...). Needless to say, I will not have internet for the next couple of weeks, so don't plan on updates. If you're curious, imagine me eating a goats head, riding a horse, or playing charades to try to explain to my hosts that really, I'm quite full, and I don't need that last hunk of sheep fat. You should have it. Thank you, though.
A quick note about Kazakhs: Apparently this part of the world is where Kazakh culture has been most preserved. I'll actually be hearing a more pure version of the language and seeing a more pure version of the original culture than I will when I visit Kazakhstan itself. Unfortunately, my fledgling Mongolian skills may not be helpful, although my even more fledgling Russian may be...
Miss you all, I'm looking forward to reading some updates when I get back!!!