Mongolia is melting
on Sarah in Mongolia (Mongolia), 31/Mar/2010 12:40, 34 days ago
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Back to regular service!Now it is warming up we are trying to make the most of it before the nasty spring wind and sand storms start up. So last weekend after my debating club class I headed out to the local monastery in Ulaanbaatar - Gandan Monastery. It is just outside the city center and is a spot of tranquility in a noisy busy city. I didn't go inside as there didn't seem to be any members of the public going into the temple, only the lamas. But the temples were beautiful from the outside as were the prayer wheels and the other monument things. There were a lot of people trying to sell you seeds to feed the birds - but there were absolutely tons of people buying them so I didn't feel like I was starving the poor birds. It was a nice walk out there and I can see myself going out there again when I need some peace and quiet.I decided to be brave and on the way back went to the hairdressers. Although the receptionist spoke decent English and was able to translate for me, I still ended up looking like a 1950's house wife! They started back combing and even thought I tried to stop it they just kept going! Luckily once I washed it myself, blow dried it and straightened it it was ok. I'm still not convince yet though!I had a quiet Sunday just doing stuff around the apartment and then heading to church, because I went part time last week. I was working from home for CMTU last week because I was doing an 8 hour training this week. It allowed me to get a lot of stuff done and to have 2 quieter days which was much appreciated! It was great in terms of work at MEA as it condensed what I am doing and means people have to concentrate on what they want me to do on the days I am there.The weekend just gone was extremely busy because of the beautiful weather. I started it off by doing my first debate class on public speaking techniques. It seemed to go well and they seemed to take on board what I was saying. It was also helpful as it seemed to make the kids more comfortable talking to me which is great as I would love to learn more about Mongolia through them. We are struggling to teach them critical thinking as they don't seem to be able to construct effective arguments. We are not sure what we are going to do, but hopefully we will find some divine inspiration!After debate club I headed to Choijin Lama monastery which is a museum where you can walk through all the temples without worrying about offending anyone. It was very beautiful (although very repetitive!) but there were a couple of rather disturbing temples full of pictures of dismemberment, people being pulled about and rather graphic sex images!! I hadn't labelled buddism as a violent religion, but it must have been in the past in Mongolia! But it is well worth a visit.I got up early on Sunday and with Melinda who was up visiting from Arvaikheer I went for a walk in the hills around UB. Another volunteer had told me that you could take the number 18 bus out to the end of the line and you arrive at the end of a ger district. So off we headed. After a few false starts we eventually made it to the end of the line and we headed off up a hill! Due to the extreme cold all winter I haven't been getting out much and I am ridiculously unfit! But we stopped half way up at an ovoo and then made it to the top eventually. It was well worth it as once you reach the top of the hill you are looking out over the hills around Mongolia - it is just empty hills and scenery. It was a lovely 1.5 hour walk although it is still a little bleak. It will be absolutely beautiful in the summer. It is great to know that there are good walks close by UB - I will be making the most of it when the weather is good.So we headed back into UB and out to a late lunch with some other volunteers. This was then followed by a trip to Swan lake the ballet. the ballet and the opera are on every week in UB and Swan lake was absolutely beautiful and the dancers were mostly fantastic. The only thing that was irritating were the unsupervised children who talked all through it. Apparently this is just how things are done here!So after a busy weekend I headed into a crazy busy week with an 8 hour fundraising training on the Monday and part time hours the rest of the week!