Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Mongol Hoard

The above is not a misspelling.  Chinggis Khaan's armies were known as "hordes," I'm writing about hoarding.  Hoard /hôrd/;  Verb: To amass something and hide it away.  From Old English "hord": treasure, valuable stock or store. 
I've been meaning to write this one for a while now, but I got bogged down writing reports and then, writing about Harbin.  We expats have a hoarding problem here in Mongolia.  Not quite at a little old lady level, but it makes life damned inconvenient from time to time.  Mongolia, being what seems (at times) like far from everywhere, doesn't always have all your good old favorites from home.  Generally, you can find things, but not always.  I spend a lot of my first three months here without tortilla chips, and that IS horrible.  And I've already mentioned the lack of Western fast food, although supposedly we are getting Starbucks and KFC in the foreseeable future.  In some ways, that will be nice, but I also find the idea that  the old UB might soon be blanketed in an assortment of fast food chains kind of sad.
Anyways, back to the hoarding problem.  The fact that you occasionally can't find things you want means that when you DO find things, it is in your best interests to snatch that stuff up, because who knows when you'll see it again.  The top photo is one of the places expats often shop (and occasionally get pickpocketed), Merkuri.  You can see the array of goods available, but each stall has different stuff, and there's not one place where you can get it all.  Goodprice (above), which is a misnomer if ever I heard one because their prices are more ridiculous than at the black markets in Seoul, is nearby and has a better arrangement.  They even have a pretty decent selection, since we came back from Christmas vacation.  Check out the fully stocked selection of beans (which Lit brought back for Fearless Leader - unnecessarily, it turns out) and popcorn (which I brought back for Fire Marshall...also unnecessarily, although I'm kind of glad for that, since the bag I had in my suitcase exploded all over the place).  When people told me at the beginning of the year that you'd better buy something if you saw it because it might not be there next time, I didn't believe them.  I've learned my lesson.
Many of us found Thanksgiving without a turkey a very frustrating thing.  A month too late, Fire Marshall and Domestic Goddess found the first one at Merkuri.  After we all got back from our vacations, they invited us all over to try it (okay, it wasn't the same was their second turkey).  It was so good, and the bacon weaving Fire Marshall did on top almost had me switching his wife's nickname with his.  There was talk of keeping a turkey for next Thanksgiving.  Do vacuum-sealed turkeys freezer burn?  According to the interwebs, freezer burn comes from exposure to air, so vacuum-sealed foods should be resistant.  But that's assuming that someone wants to keep a turkey in their freezer for the next nine months.  And that someone is not me.

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