Ok, so, it’s 5:00AM and there’s a rip-roaring party going on next door at the Eros Hotel (yes, they rent rooms by the hour). For some reason I just couldn’t sleep with the barking dogs, the band playing Mongolian rap music and the lovers quarrel going on outside. Oh well, had to get up and pack the laundry we did yesterday afternoon. We had hung everything out to dry and luckily we accomplished that goal.
A Mongolian, a Dutch woman and an American walk into a grocery store… There’s no punchline for this, but there should be. I wish I had a video of the three of us shopping for our trip. Shombodon is typical Mongolian, all he wants is meat. Maaike is a vegetarian and I just want anything that’s easy. I did manage to find some noodle cup and the makings for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (for those times when we are nowhere near a restaurant). Along with all of our supplies, Shombodon and Maaike buy 2.5 kilos of candy for the children we’ll encounter and 2 cases of vodka to give to the village folks in return for their stories. The cashier looked at us like we were out of our minds. The good thing is, if we get stuck out in the middle of nowhere we’ll have a great time waiting for assistance.
Didn’t get a chance to eat at either the beer garden or American Burgers and Fries. We had an appointment back at Shombodon’s office for me to interview a couple of college kids for the video piece I’m doing and we ran out of time with all that shopping. Aaargh. We ordered in pizza for lunch from Mr. Pizza. The interviews were interesting. The girl, a 20-year-old college student was very politically aware, had voted in the last election and was only mildly satisfied with the government. The pitiful state of their infrastructure is a real concern for her. She doesn’t understand why there are so many luxury cars in UB now driving on roads that are in horrible condition. She is hopeful that, after this election things will improve. She is of the opinion that they should not be doing any mining because of her environmental concerns. The guy, 19 years old, had very few opinions about anything. I’ll give him a pass since he attends university in Moscow and is, well, a guy.
I love this photo. They built this wall in line with the main corridor of the temple because evil spirits can only travel in a straight line and keeps them from entering. There are massive statues of angry-looking beings just inside the first door in case an evil spirit tries to do an end run around the wall. I think we should start incorporating that into the designs of our homes. Couldn’t hurt. It would, at the very least, keep politicians and solicitors away.
Went to a new restaurant right around the corner from us. If you didn’t look out the windows of the Rosewood you’d never know you weren’t in a very nice restaurant in any major city in the U.S. Great Mediterranean fare and a really cool decor. The American owner has done a great job with the place. There was a group of about 20 or so 20 somethings having a going away party for one of their friends. A wonderfully eclectic mix of people from all over the world either working or volunteering in Mongolia. They were having a great time, but I interrupted them anyways. They were a bright, friendly group and very enthusiastic about living and working here.
I should probably go pack. We’ll be leaving in a couple of hours so I’d, literally, better get my stuff together. I believe we’ll be in an Aimag center (kinda of a county seat) tonight, but nobody’s sure if well have internet access. I’ll report in the next chance I get.