you get on bus 7 and get a city tour instead of a beautiful Sunday hike.
Yep. Bus 7. It was nice, don’t get me wrong. Not too crowded (a rarity), no squeaky brakes (an even bigger rarity), the Mongolian version of a Sunday drive I suppose.
So yeah, we were attempting to meet up with some friends for a nice hike Sunday morning, and instead we got a city tour. Come to find out our friends that we were trying to meet up with got a city tour too, so we weren’t the only foolish ones.
Anyways, less than lucky #7 brought us here, which we both decided wasn’t so bad after all:
Above me is the Zaison Monument, a Communist Era Monument (note the swastika in the corner?). We climbed up 600 steps to get there. Behind me is Ulaanbaatar in all of its glory. And on my head is the warm hat that Chris’s mom sent me. Wonderful.
In this next one we’re facing South, and behind us is one of our favorite places to hike. We didn’t hike there this past weekend though because it was cold and we wimped out. Let’s be honest.
Anyways, here’s another one of UB…maybe because of the snow we got recently the pollution wasn’t so bad?
And now you get a collection of sunrises from our balcony window. Some of them are pretty, and some of them are pretty gross.
Pretty (though admittedly not a sunrise):
And really pretty gross:
The pollution was pretty horrible about a week ago. Dust, smoke, exhaust, assorted other horrible smells…you name it, we had it. We would walk out the door in the morning and instantly cough on account of the smoke/cold combination. Following the bit of snow we got this weekend, the pollution seems to be down quite a bit, so hopefully it’ll stay that way for a while. We’ll see.
In other news, my interpreter started today at long last! It was really a wonderful thing. I could hold a conversation about work! I think that maybe the lack of an interpreter taught me a little lesson in patience, as in Mongolian life there is rarely – if ever – a sense of urgency. The belief is that things will happen when they happen, so why rush them? I am trying to fully embrace this belief (Hello joie de vivre, my name is Kara), and this is where I sit while embracing it:
The radiator you see in the background is one nasty devil…it is HOT in that office. My Mongolian counterpart sits at the desk next to mine. Her name is Avarga, she is a Pediatrician, and she thinks it is really funny when I say anything in Mongolian.
So yeah…things are good here. We’re already looking forward to the weekend, as Chris has next week off from school. I’ll take Monday off so we can have a nice long weekend visiting our friend in Darkhan, a city about 4 hours North of UB. It should be nice…I’m looking forward to a bus ride through the countryside before we reach the 2nd largest city in Mongolia (large is a relative term, mind you).
Off I go for now. I hope everyone on the other side of the world is warm and cozy. Soon enough we will be in danger of freezing our faces off. It is not going to be nice.