I’ve been here one month. Here are a few random ramblings:
Mongolia is a textbook example of how NOT to transition from communism to capitalism.
…it is however a land of great potential and opportunity.
Most of the metal that went into the Olympic metals came from Mongolia.
Mongolia is a country of extreme contrasts and contradictions.
Mongolia has no beggars.
Mongolia reached 100% literacy during its time as a socialist country. It has slipped to 98% since the transition. Still pretty amazing.
They like their beds hard here. I think they get their counter tops and mattresses from the same quarry.
Gender equality here is amazing. It’s part of their history and culture. From the warrior queens to the equality espoused under socialism, the attitude towards women is something we could learn a lot from. 70% of college graduates are women and 80% of professional jobs are held by women. The only blip is only 13% of the seats in parliament are held by women. The general theory is that women don’t want to be in politics.
Uliastai means “The Town of Aspen”. Looks very different from the one in Colorado.
They still sell the 3rd world version of the Toyota Landcruiser here. I wish they made it available in the states.
Russian jeeps are indestructible.
I’m still trying to figure out how they can get perfect cell reception out in the middle of nowhere. (When I spoke previously about the “middle of nowhere” we were just close to nowhere, maybe on the outskirts of nowhere.) The last couple of days we were smack-dab in the middle of nowhere without a cell tower in sight. I can sit in my condo in Colorado Springs and stare at a cell tower and still drop calls!
Cats are a rare sight here. Most people believe they carry evil spirits.
Nothing has happened to change my initial impression that Mongolians are really laid back and friendly people.
Mongolian is a hard language to learn. (But it’s worth trying. They love it when you make the effort.)
If anybody knows of a hybrid system that can heat water from solar panels and methane collected from human and animal waste, please let me know. There is a town here in desperate need of it.
One of the elderly ladies that we interviewed said something amazing right before we left her ger. She said she knew that Maaike and I live in rich countries. She said that Mongolia, too, is a rich country. Rich in culture and history and opportunity. She said she hoped that some day soon the entire world would be able to live in peace and harmony and that we could all enjoy the riches that life has to offer. I don’t think anybody has ever said it better…