16th October
on Sarah in Mongolia (Mongolia), 19/Oct/2009 06:38, 34 days ago
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Normal0falsefalsefalseEN-USX-NONEX-NONE/* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}I actually was lucky to have slept reasonably well for the few hours we had before morning and the jet lag didn’t hit me as hard as some of the others.Mike and Steve met us at the guest house and took us for a walking tour of Ulaanbaatar. There was still quite a bit of snow around and it was a bit chilly to start with!The buildings were very run down and decrepit looking from the outside and too be honest were a little intimidating. However when you get inside they are great. It makes sense that the outside of the building doesn't look so good if you consider the weather and the amount of times it freezes and thaws between Summer and Winter. I don’t know if this is the correct reason but I imagine it may have something to do with it.They showed us a typical apartment (to lower our expectations apparently, but it was pretty good!) and then we went to the Mobicom shop where we could buy mobiles, to Sukhbaatar Square, one of the major tourist attractions,Peace Avenue one of the main streets where the embassies are and the state department store isThen down past the Beatles statue, towards the circus, a large dome building; to the market. At the market it was a bit strange because it appeared that you could buy whatever you wanted, all sorts of fruit and veg, cereals, juice, chocolate, sweets etc and then the meat counters were extensive, but yet apparently the variety does drop over the winter so we need to make the most of the food while it is there. It is also weird because there isn’t necessarily one area where you buy each type of food. It appears that different people own or rent or run different sections of the market and they sell whatever they have there. It is all a bit confusing and overwhelming but I am sure we will soon get used to it.We then headed to VSO where we had some lunch with the staff at VSO, got paid for the next 2 weeks and got an introduction to Mongolia. Everyone was fading a little by this stage so we were then walked back to our apartment by Aki another volunteer. The other thing that doesn't help the tiredness is the heat of the buildings. The heat is turned on by the government once a year in October, and it goes off again in March/April and there is not usually any way for you to control the temperature of a room, there is only one temperature. This means you wrap up ridiculously warm to go out into the freezing weather and then strip off said layers immediately upon walking in, to leave only a very thin summer layer of clothing. It seems rather ridiculous!Sol treated us to a lovely Phillipino dish for dinner in the evening which was great and saved us having to go out for dinner.The guest house were are staying in is run by the Lotus Centre, an organisation that takes in abandoned, orphaned, or children in difficult circumstances. It is a great idea and the girls who staff the guest house are also from the lotus centre. The founder of Lotus, an Australian woman, came over with one of the babies and we really enjoyed chatting to her and playing with the absolutely adorable baby!