my farewell quiz, two mongolian babies and vodka for lunch
on Catherine Dupre (Mongolia), 29/Nov/2010 04:03, 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.

Aaah, life in UB, the pace never lets up, the madness never subsides, the pavements are slippery icy, the stray dogs have gone all fluffy, which gives them a cute appearance that belies their true rabid mentality.So I had my 'leaving do' on thursday, as friday was a public holiday.  I decided to do a pub quiz, as 1, I love the quiz, 2, my leaving do from the UK was a pub quiz so there's some cosmic symettry in there, and 3, I dont like just getting a bunch of people into a pub to just stand around drinking - I like a 'point' to a party.Anyway, it was a great success, it was so sweet, the guys who wrote the quiz made the first round answers all start with a letter of my name, an accrostick, i think it is called. Anyway, it was a really fun evening, even though my team didnt win! Which I blame on the fact that as it was my 'do' everyone wanted to buy me a drink, so I wasnt perhps quite as clear headed as I usually am for the quiz.........Friday was the holiday, but I had arranged to meet my colleagues to go and visit our previous colleague who left in july to have twins.  I have been in Mongolia for ten months, and so why I thought, when they said, "lets meet at 12" that any one would actually be there at 12, I dont know, must be the innate brittish nurse time keeper in me.So I slip and slide my way to meet them at the hospital, texting my friend to complain that I am too tired for this, I go over a particularly slippery bit of pavement (er, why, in a place that is covered in ice for 6 months of the year would you make most of the pavements smooth as marble???? its tantamount to premeditated assault I tell you.) I scream - my legs come out from under me - my phone goes flying into a snow drift - some teenagers laugh at me - and my arm smacks into a random bt of metal.  Nice.So I get to the hospital, 12:00.  I wait.  I wait.  I wait. 12:40 one of my colleagues arrives and we go up to the office where I messa round on the internet.  eventually, over the course of the next 40 mins or so others arrive and much faffing and flapping ensues. We then go to the supermarket where they spend 20 minutes deciding what nappies to buy.........have you ever been hungover in a supermarket in a gaggle of about 15 mongolian women who are all talking fast and loud and shrill and non stop? Dont try it, you wont like it, trust me on this.So then we get a taxi, I am put in the front, there is no seat belt, there is ice on the road, we are going v fast.  I stop counting the near misses and remind myself that squeezing my eyes shut will only make my wrinkles worse, so just man up and deal widdit.Get to Tserma's house, and it v nice, in the ger district, very sweetly decorated and furnished.  we sit on low stools around a low table, filled with dishes of food, I am sitting between motherly Nurze, who very sweetly finds me the peices of meat that areөхгуи (have no fat) and Muugii, who speaks a little english, and every now and again thinks to try and include me by telling me a little of what the conversations are about, and who has my back when the milk tea comes out telling our hosts I dont drink milk as I am allergic. (this is my ploy toavoid dodgy dairy in asia without causing offence).I am more interested in the twin baby girls, sooooooooo cute, and little and fat and mongolian.  I didnt bring my camera!  So I only have my own memories, but they were cute.  I think there was just me and this one other youngish nurse, who didnt have children, so we were the broody ones, and she was being a right baby hogger, much to my chagrin.My heart sank when the vodka was brought out, as even though i will drink it with ice and tonic, shooting it, is pretty much the exact opposite of my bag. Every time we toasted I just touched it to my lips in a show of cameraderie, and each time Tserma's husband would top it up a little more, even though I adnt actually drunk any.  Muugii was telling me, katereeen, when you drink, must *knock back action* - I just laughed and pretended not to understand.... and then the red wine came out. One thng I have found hard in Monoglia i the winter, is not how cold it is outside, -20 and below is fine with me, I actually enjoy it, for short periods at a time... what is most difficult is how freakin hot it is INSIDE.  heating balsting away, and no ventilation, this is one of my all time worse combinations (people doing baby voices and keeping me waiting is another, fruit in savoury dishes another, and the wearing of green and red is one of the most heinous,  but all that is by the by).Anyway, so this room is like a furnace, airless and full of chattering women, who seem to be getting shriller by the second, and all they say to me is drrrink drrink! So I smile and sip at my wine, and gaze at the babies, and try to remember what I know about heat exhaustion, and wonder how long we will be here for, and when the baby hogger will let me have a hold of the cuter twin, and whether its just my ovaries being sneaky, or whether it really would be a great idea to have a baby of my own, and why did I forget my camera, and will being this hot damage my internal organs........and so on until suddenly we are all traipsing out, much hugging and smelling, into the blessed blessed cold, and a breath of fresh coal smog.We get taxi's and I am inthe front again but this time I have my colleagues 6 year old son on my lap, which for me is great, he falls asleep and I get to cuddle him for ages. We have to change taxi's in the middle of the journey though as one begins to fall apart as we drive along the frozen roads.I will miss the freedom of taxi's here, you flag one so easily, you can put as many people as you like in there, "tin of fish" my mongolian friend calls it (sardines). I will miss the cute kids.I will miss the lovely hospitality, and the kindness and thoughtfulnes.I will NOT MISS VODKA FOR LUNCH!!!!!!!!