So a couple of stories just to update my life in the recent week:
Walking to work on Thursday I was suddenly accosted by a Mongolian man walking with his family. He grabbed me quite insistently by the hand and said “Sain bainuu! Hello!” As I was getting ready to say “no” to whatever it was he was planning on selling me, I was in for a surprise!
“You are Canada?” “Uh, no American. The United States?” He nods vigorously, quite pleased. “Ah yes, I like basketball too!” Basketball is a big sport in Mongolia. “Yes, yes, Michael Jordan!” he says. “Yes, Michael Jordan!” Because well, who doesn't love Michael Jordan?!
This entire exchange takes place as he's holding my hand quite firmly and then he kisses my hand and bids me farewell, rejoining his family who have stood by for this performance. I was very flattered :-)
On this same walk to work I ran into a puppy lying in the middle of the sidewalk. At first I thought the dog was dead but as i came closer it popped
Hanging by a ROPE they are pounding the siding off with hammers. Do you think they get hazard pay?
its head up and snapped at a passing fly. So I whistled at it and it came FLYING straight for, tickled pink that someone had noticed him. I don't think that puppy's ever been petted and loved by anyone because he practically attached himself to my leg once I started and then proceeded to follow me half way to work before losing interest and running off to rummage through tasty garbage.
It was a good morning :-)
So on Friday I planned ahead and made plans to see a movie with Colleen on Saturday and then go to Carrie's on Sunday (they have a library and I've run out of books to read!)
Today, Saturday, Colleen and I met up and headed for the Gandem monestary, a few blocks from my apartment. It was quite crowded with people and teens looking like they were dressed for a graduation or perhaps a dance. I introduced Colleen to the large 3rd/4th district shopping area and we entertained ourselves by making endless commentary about Mongolian fashion. It was lovely to be able to play a bit of “tour guide” for once since she has only recently come to UB
from working in the countryside. So then we headed to my favorite Italian food joint and came upon an unwelcome surprise. The movie theater was being shut down and large red and white posters were being affixed to the glass doors. When we pressed for more information we were told a “Chinese sickness” was here and lots of babies and children had become sick. It was very unclear as to what the sickness was or what was really going on since as far as we knew, nothing else had been closed down. Feeling a bit disconcerted we went to a Russian bakery and then to a DVD rental/viewing place (literally a place where you can rent a DVD and watch it in a living room type setting) only to find a seal on the door and a metal grate with a padlock. The seal had what I think was similar wording as the theater and though Colleen was sure it was “just a scare” I really did not feel all that good about it. I will definitely ask Carrie about it tomorrow and try and get as much information as possible. So a bit dejected that we had been denied
Mongolians often spin these but no one has been able to explain to me why. For good luck?
our movie pleasures, we surfed a couple souvenir shops and a jewelry store before calling it a day. But all in all, Colleen was very pleasant company and had lots of great stories to tell about her two years in the countryside.
So I wasn’t able to get a lot of information about the “Chinese disease” until I got to work on Monday and found out that there is an outbreak of “foot-and-mouth” disease which is affecting a lot of little kids and babies. Interesting.
Had a good day with Carrie on Sunday though I got RIPPED off by taxi drivers both ways. I’ve noticed a definite change in attitude as more and more tourists start to arrive. Okay basically one big difference being: I’m now being ripped off left and right. I need to learn how to call someone a “LIAR” in Mongolian! The one taxi driver who drove me home tried again and again to tell me that he had driven me 6km while his odometer CLEARLY said “3”. I was so mad. But then I went home and brushed it off because it is still cheap comparatively to home so I shouldn’t complain but still…
The Mongols gained fame in the 13th century when under Chinggis KHAN they conquered a huge Eurasian empire. After his death the empire was divided into several powerful Mongol states, but these broke apart in the 14th century. The Mongols eventually ...more history