Sunday, 16 July. Today was dominated by a fairly strong smell of fire. Bata, our guide, said there were five fires in the area. City citizens were volunteering to help put out them out. By the end of the day the smell had lessened substantially. (Regarding smoking of the normal kind, it’s much, much less than I anticipated. Almost non-existent.)
Breakfast was European style, i.e., lots of variety. Ate too much.
The touring was supposed to begin at a viewing point to see the city, but the smoke canceled that idea. All together we visited one large monastery and two Museums, one having explanations written in English. Unsurprisingly, Mongolia has a very rich history that we don’t learn in school. The history of their clothing is awesome. Their more recent history is pretty confusing. Manchuria, China, and the Soviet Union all had a hand in it. A lot of the USSR’s spartan architecture is still around, which contrasts sharply with their attempts to build a more modern looking city. Economic realities have also played a role. Beauty sits next to Ruin, with Ugly in between.
Lunch was chicken (again). Apparently they’re sliding us slowly into their dietary customs. Dinner was our first real intro, with a large chunk of beef attached to bone. Tough. Bata explained that Mongolians prefer tough. Soft leaves them dissatisfied with their meal. It was an experience. The taste was fine, but there was a lot of chewing going on.
Tomorrow we head into the countryside. Everyone is eager to go.
Not something you see in an American Hotel.
Buddhist Monks. UB began as a monastery.
Fountain in a playground near the monastery.
Gers are not uncommon. This is outside the restaurant.
Chinggis Khan, in his Lincoln pose. He is usually depicted on a horse.
Sukhbaatar, the nation’s more recent hero (1921). Instrumental in their independence from China. The statue is located in the city square, precisely where his horse is said to have urinated (A good omen).