Why is it that to most people Outer Mongolia seems the most remote spot on earth? When Nick Middleton decided he would visit this Central Asian country he got an immediate inkling: it took him five years to get an entry visa. When eventually he arrived he found a country ruled by a president called Batman, where waiting in queues was rivalled as a national pastime only by throwing stones. Three years later, Middleton was in Mongolia again, this time to be whisked around the country by a driver who ate tadpoles. Mongolia provided more than a few surprises: from dining on yak's curd with match sticks in the country's last remaining Buddhist monastery to living in the Communist Party's secret valley hideaway, from a brush with North Korean seal clubbing enthusiasts to tracking wild ass in the Gobi Desert, and from traditional yak dung throwing to an overdose of boiled goat and fermented mare's milk. This book is the story of these two trips.