Ah Mongolia, the land of cheap north face jackets.... and mongolians. This blog covers Ulan Bator there'll be another for the Ger camp
THEY LOVE GENGHIS KHAN (from here on known as Chinngis Khan)
I know that i am very late with this entry but the internet in UlannBaatar was just too slow for words. Although slow is actually a word that describes it well. So this entry and all subsequent entries will be of the "on mature recollection" variety.
The first thing we experienced of mongolia was the border crossing where after 5 hours or so of sitting in some siberian backwater with 1 shop and 1 train station and some suspiciously rabid looking dogs while the Ruskies checked passports and dithered about we were greeted by mongolian border officials who checked passports and dithered and tryed to throw an austrian off the train for having a damaged passport. but the difference was they did it with a smile! (the austrian was let stay (that wouldn't happen in russia, or china as we were to find out). We arrived into UB (as some mongrel on another vodkatrain group called it) very early in the morning, into teh nicest hotel so far, conveniently located on a building site with limited health and safety and a lack of hot water.
Our Honcho Flower or *undescribable throat noise* to give her her mongolian name was very nice and learned all her english by watching friends (i learned mine watching glenroe). We had lunch in an ex-pats place called Millies which had no dill thank jaysus. We saw a Buddhist monastry complete with monks and chanting and spinning prayer thingy-me-bobs. Ruth offically decided that she would be interested in a Buddhism for Dummies book in case it was the religion for her (the monks do all the praying for you). The monastry also had a massive gold plated statue of some scary multiarmed Buddhist guy who had reached Enlightenment and was given multiple arms to help all the people and that (he generally is depicted with a murderous visage and a serious looking dagger). The origional had been knicked by the russians and melted down (as you do). We then went to SukhBattar square, which commemorates the guy who liberated teh Mongolians from China. Sukhbaatar means Axe Hero so he was destined for great or bloody things. We then hit the Museum of Natural History saw some dinosaur skeletons, bought some pin badges and postcards and read the english museum translations which were worth the 3000Togrog fee.
As a cumbersome bakers dozen we hit a traditional mongolian resturant called "Modern Nomads". The mongolians like mutton and dumplings and especially mutton dumplings. I had a pint of Chinngis Khan beer, ruth had a Chinggis Khan vodka and coke. All in all we dropped about 145.000 togrog, big spenders one and all.
We then retired to rest up, walking past the Chinggis Khan hotel and could see a giant etching of Chinggis Khan on a hillside overlooking the city. (there is also a giant statue of teh khan himself in Sukhbaatar square) Later the three amigos (James had man swine flu) hit the Irish bar called shockingly Grand Khaan Irish bar which we met peter outside. We had some bers soaked up some Mongolain Nightlife, (full of poseurs wearing sunglasses indoors) and drank 3000 togrog beer. A good night. The walk home in the dark was an experience what with the lack of strret lighting, the numerous deep holes in the ground and teh mounds of earth. It was fun.
anyway 2000 togrog is 1 euro.