A place worth vacationing, if I were young enough and energetic enough. Maybe a little reindeer antler would do the trick....Here I met Natalya Kirova, a local Tuwa woman who was selling reindeer antlers as aphrodisiacs in the local apothecary shop. Not long after, I found myself hosted in her rustic log cabin. Its walls were hung with animal skins, and there was the ubiquitous shrine to the great Genghis Khan.
In her home left behind by Russian loggers in the early 20th Century, Kirova talked of mountain spirits, wood sprites and local superstition, and recounted a humorous tale of how Khan’s army invented the hamburger by placing meat under their saddles to tenderise it while they rode. Her son is a throat singer, a profession once exclusive to communing with spirits, but she told me that he now mainly performs for tourists.