Tuesday, 27 July 2010

life in Ulaanbaatar

Living in Ulaanbaatar means not being in a hurry. The city centre is about 5km from my apartment. Some days it takes 5 minutes, other days 1 hour; no rhyme or reason. We are a week into the (very) hot weather and having moved outside town is the smartest move we have made to date. Getting irked by traffic is not an option, it wastes too much energy; this is a commonly held view resulting in a pleasantly placid non-threatening atmosphere. (We are in the apartment block, the president's palace is the big white bulding)

At the bottom of our driveway the Tuul River meanders along the southern limits of the city. Tull means 'to meander through' in Mongolian. The 800km long river has long been held sacred by the Mongols, presumably because of the naturally arid nature of the country.

Tuul River is a very popular place for swimming, gathering and barbecues. In the evening groups of friends and families hang out on the riverbank; playing, splashing, eating, talking and generally having a nice time away from the stinging heat. The water comes from the mountains and retains its cool freshness. With temperatures remaining well over 35C during the day (and above 25C most nights) plunging into the water is the only way of keeping cool. Mountains surround our apartment, acting as an oven. There is no air-conditioning and little breeze. It may not be the Grand Plage in St Jean de Luz but without the river life would be a lot less tolerable; sharing it with horses and goats is simply a bonus.

Mongolian of the day:- good evening :: oroin mend