Saturday, March 6, 2010

Day 10: Adventures in Mongolia

Our second weekend here! Nara, a teacher at the school, had invited us to go with her and her husband, Seda (no idea on spellings, really), to the outskirts of UB, where they where thinking of buying some land for a summer house. In Australia, if you want a holiday house, you normally buy one on the coast a few hours away. Apparently in UB, if you're rich enough, you buy one on the outskirts of the city, 30-40 mins away.

So they came and picked us up, with a friend of theirs driving (a little fast for our liking!), and we headed out of the city. As you leave the central areas of the city, you enter the ger-districts. Basically, these are the areas filled with people who have generally moved to the city from the country to make (eke) a living. They don't all live in gers, but some do. They're off the central grid of infrastructure, and often struggle. So we got to see a glimpse of that. Then beyond them you enter summer-house-land (not-actually-named). These are slightly larger plots of land with houses on them, which stand empty most of the year, and are used in the summer months. The air is cleaner, the snow is deeper, and there are trees! We got out of the car a few times and had a look around and enjoyed ourselves.

After this we drove back into the city, and went to the cinema to pick up some tickets. We think it was there that our camera got stolen. Seumas isn't quite sure where it was, but a little down the track we realised it was gone. This was pretty disheartening. It's one thing to know that pickpockets are very talented, and to expect them to steal stuff, but losing the camera is a bit sucky, not least because we had some lovely pictures from today on it. After picking up the tickets ($4 each, beats Sydney prices), we went to Kebab take-away for some lunch. It was leaving there that we realised the camera was gone. We then looked in a department store for awhile, before heading back to the movies. We watched "Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief" - predictable, a little childish, but good fun nonetheless (English, with Mongolian subtitles). Then we got a lift home.

It was a pretty fun day, talking with Nara and Seda about life in Mongolia and stuff. They showed us some lovely hospitality, and Seda knows a guy who might be able to get us a cheap replacement camera. Tomorrow we might have a lazy day at home in the morning...

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