Monday, 28 February 2011

the home stretch

Well, it's almost ten months since I started to think about a wee trip for a couple of weeks to Outer Mongolia. I am still living in the cradle of Ulaanbaatar but my time here is almost done. To mark the start of my last week the weather has very kindly dipped dramatically. I'm not sure when I'll next take a walk along a deeply frozen river in -38C.

I visited the infamous Black Market today. The place was made famous by Ewen McGregor during his 'Long Way Round' adventure (he bought a motorbike there). It is a quite astonishing spectacle. So very unlike any Western shopping experience and even the Arab souks feel somewhat sophisticated against the backdrop of grimy stalls selling everything from tractor wheels to plastic tiaras. Given the size of Ulaanbaatar, some 1 million people, the Black Market is quite especially large. This is one of many markets, albeit the one selling the widest variety of goods, so it's multi hectare span took me aback.

Set into different zones a myriad of wares are touted. From silk to sausages, leather to latex, dishwashers to diamantes - there is something for everyone. If you can put up with the icy wind, hocking vendors and absolute disorganisation then the Black Market offers a retail memory that will last forever. I didn't see any sign of Ewen McGregor, I guess that's a great advertisement for the the Black Market - his motorbike obviously worked. Shame though, I've always wanted to meet Obi-Wan Kenobi...

Mongolian of the day:- shop :: delguur