Shopping and winter sports
on Sarah in Mongolia (Mongolia), 09/Dec/2009 05:12, 34 days ago
Please note this is a cached copy of the post and will not include pictures etc. Please click here to view in original context.

Unfortunately last week started badly with my cough/cold meaning I missed a day of work and then was pretty miserable in work for the first few days of the week. Mongolians really don’t like sick people, especially with the heightened state of awareness about H1N1 so there were many comments about me going home and resting and not infecting everyone else! Luckily it passed after a couple of days, but no-one wanted to meet with me incase I was infectious so work was pretty quiet.On Tuesday night one of the VSO’s who was leaving Mongolia at the end of his placement had drinks at the Irish bar. Being Mongolia there are random rules on drinking, so along with the curfew at 9pm there is no alcohol in our district on the 1st of the Month. Apparently this is something to do with preventing drunkenness but seeing as each district chooses which day of the month they ban alcohol, a 15 minute walk down the road would have provided us with alcohol as that district doesn’t ban alcohol on the 1st of the month. It is all quite crazy. It was a nice evening and our departing friend was given a deel by his workcolleagues and pulled it off remarkably well, convincing me that maybe I should try the deel look.I managed to get assigned the position of education representative for the volunteer committee in Mongolia, and I am still not quite sure what is involved but it means I get to leave work early some Friday afternoons, so it is definitely worth it! We had our vol comm meeting on Friday where we discussed all the burning issues VSO’s have from water filters to Christmas party!We held a VSO leaving party after the vol com which was a fun night although it was sad to see someone leave. The expat community is a very transient community as people leave and arrive with alarming frequency! It does mean a constant stream of fresh faces which is refreshing as we are a rather small group, but it also means that forming friendships and investing in relationships will be harder as one of you will always leave.I have been on a bit of a shopping spree this week as Sarah found an NGO that works with local craftspeople and gives them a base to sell from in UB. So on Thursday we took a long lunch and got fitted for boots. These are hand made leather boots made to your specification. So having my large feet and wide calves the opportunity was unmissable and I have ordered a pair of knee high boots. The bags, souvenirs, wall hangings and slippers they had on display were all gorgeous and at close to cost price, certainly not the prices that they are in the souvenir shops so this place is a great find.On Saturday they were having a traditional clothing fair so we headed down as I was keen to get a Deel and Sarah wanted some traditional boots. I distressed the tailor as I selected mens cloth and mens buttons for my deel, but the womens fabrics were not nice and the blue wool I have chosen was gorgeous. I think I will probably look fairly ridiculous in my deel and I may not wear it out much but it is definitely worth having and it is something I have talked about getting since I arrived. I was also able to find a hand made belt and some nice tops so I may have to go back and do my Christmas shopping!On Sunday I went ice skating on an outdoor ice rink which was great fun. Although it isn’t in the nicest looking area of town as it is on a main road, there is a view out towards the mountains which is nice. It was just lovely to be out getting exercise doing something fun. I did end up falling on my backside twice and I have to learn not to put down my hands as my wrists were sore for days afterwards! We went for lunch afterwards as well which was great as standing outside chatting was getting chilly!The afternoon was spent in a baking frenzy as Sarah and I were having our housewarming party and we had decided on a pudding party. Unfortunately we are still getting used to the lack of scales and dodgy oven so although my banana cake was really good, the chocolate one was pretty poor– which means I have to work on it some more! We had a whole lot of cake which was fantastic (although not so good for the waistline!) and a perfect number of people for the number of seats we own.