NOMAD HOSPITALITY: Not enough can be said of the nomad's sense of hospitality. The typical greeting is, "It's lucky that you arrived right now as we were just getting ready to make tea". Everywhere we went we were welcomed with whatever the nomads had to offer: Butter tea, fresh dough cookies, music, and stories. And when we left, the ritual question, "Aren't you staying the night?"
WAR, OBLIVION AND KINSHIP: The crew was assembled in Mongolia when the attacks of 9-11 happened. Production was well underway, and in a few days, we’d be in the “isolated oblivion” of nomadic life in extreme west of that country. It was terrifying knowing that my country would be going to war while I was shooting in a place far beyond electrical lines and modern communications. After we arrived in the countryside, I was very moved when our hosts, who were Kazak Muslims, declared that they were afraid that America would take revenge on innocent, peaceful people such as themselves. In that moment, I learned the true meaning of kinship.
HANDY HUNTING WORDS: Should you find yourself hunting with eagles in Mongolia, these Kazak words are sure to be helpful:
Drink tea: Shai ish
Let’s go: Kettik