So here’s part two of the last post. Turns out I’ve got a lot on my mind tonight.
Let’s start here: our weekend was a doozie. We earned it after our first work week in Ulaanbaatar. Friday night I met up with Chris and some of his new teacher friends after their parent/teacher social at school. A Friday night beer was in store, and it was a beautiful night, so we were pleased when we discovered a lovely little patio just across the way from our apartment. We had ourselves a seat, ordered some beers, and then had an odd feeling about what we had just discovered.
The back story is this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11141472.
The rest of the story is that the same news article was broadcast on BBC here in Mongolia this week. It’s about Mongolian Nationalists that have adopted the Nazi Swastika as a symbol of the “pure race” they wish to maintain in Mongolia. The irony is that Chinggis Khan, hero extraordinaire, used to attack villages, kill the men, take the women as wives, procreate with them, and effectively dilute his race. It is quite evident today as you walk down the street – Mongolian people are a diverse group despite the fact that they all have dark hair. Anyways, back to the Nationalists. Part of the BBC news clip on TV was filmed in a bar in UB that is pegged as a Nationalist hangout.
Back to us. You can see where this is heading. So the odd feeling about what we had just discovered may have come from the giant Swastika tile just inside the entryway, which may have led to us recalling the BBC news piece we saw, which in turn just might have reminded us that the bar at which we sat not only possessed a big old Swastika tile in the entryway, but also an entire interior decor that paid homage to Nazi Germany – complete with mannequins dressed up in Nazi uniforms carrying giant guns. It was entirely surreal. And no, we did not take pictures. We did, however, order schnitzel for dinner which turned out to be chicken cordon bleu, and – to our dismay – was delicious.
Anyways, enough about that adventure. On to the next:
So Saturday morning we chartered a pink bus…
Which took us here (Hello, 4.1 million dollar statue of Chinggis built by the Minister of Tourism – is that a conflict of interest? Oh, nice paved road leading to it too…hmm?)…
And Chris made a friend:
And then we made a whole bus load of friends while standing on Chiggis’ horse’s head:
And then I got all dressed up nice and pretty like a good Mongolian woman should, and some creep came along and wouldn’t stop checking me out:
So we left and took the pink bus here to hang out by a river and enjoy a beautiful Mongolia Saturday:
And then we headed off towards Terelj, a National Park not too far from the river we had enjoyed. It was odd though – I had never seen astroturf in a National Park before:
(That’s the green of a golf course in the park…and it’s made of astroturf. There are even multiple holes cut in the green – just one pin though. We’re determined to go and play soon)
And then we passed a big rock shaped like a turtle (it’s not the mountain in the background – look down):
And then there were some cars stuck in the river (the photo shows one, but I promise you it is car one of three that we watched submerge itself, be towed out, and go back for another try):
And then finally we ended our day with a reminder that fall comes early in Mongolia:
Exhausted, we had a nice leisurely night Saturday night. Sunday we headed north of the city for a 5 mile hike…it was beautiful…more fall colors too. We also found the Bayanzurkh Market – a nice market that sells just about anything and everything (except for canned diced tomatoes which is a bummer when chili is on the docket). I’ll leave that for another time though since the market in and of itself is quite a treat – especially the meat room.
On that note, off I go. Good night from Mongolia!