Saturday, May 4, 2013

Rocky Road

There is just something about Mongolia that makes you want to set off at a gallop on a horse.  Maybe it's the ridiculous blue sky, maybe it's the wind in your hair.
Or, you know, maybe it's the roads.  I've written before about how awful Mongolian roads are.  I'm not even talking about off-roading - this is a picture from up here on the hill, in hoity-toity Zaisan.  It is a rich neighborhood, but it was built illegally on national park land, so the city won't do a dang thing about it.  The expensive apartment complexes don't want to do anything about it, either, because the huge trucks with construction stuff are continuously coming, and will just ruin the pavement all over again.
Don't believe me when I say the potholes are big enough to swallow a small car?  Here's one of said trucks, stuck in one of our holes.  They are offloading the materials a couple of rods at a time and carrying them over to the site.  The roads around the school are actually fairly smooth because our Queen had them paved, and has low-clearance bars in place to keep the bigger trucks from coming onto her street.  Last summer, supposedly someone cut them down, and supposedly the next day she had them back up and reamed out the people responsible for it.  Good for her, I say.

Today we went to the orphanage.  For the first time in ages, the buses were crowded, and I sat on the step up to the seats at the back.  The college-aged girls in the seats next to me were practicing "Just Give Me a Reason," by Pink (who my homeroom class decided I "would be" if I were a pop star), and when the radio played a Mongolian tune they and all their friends joined in.  I love this about Mongolians - they get involved in music, in performances, clapping and singing along.  They got off around where the cemetery is on the way to Gachuurt, and one of the boys pointed it out, making them all squeal.  I watched them get off the bus, and the people standing at the stop, and really felt that they were part of my extended human family, something I know is true but hard a hard time feeling while I was living in Shanghai.  I really feel like I fit in here better than I did there.  Maybe it's because, like Mongolia, I have some rough edges; whatever the case, I really do like it here. 

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