Monday, November 11, 2013

Winter in Summer

It's pretty pathetic, but I don't have much new to write about.  Saturday was our orphanage day followed by a winning quiz night at Hennessy's and Sunday was church, where I have a new (old) calling - primary teacher.  Which is kind of exhausting, teaching seven days a week, but I need the church, and pretty much all the time I like Mormon kids better than their parents, so it works.  (Why do I like Mormon kids better than their parents?  I'm pretty sure pitying me for being 34 and single has never crossed their minds.  Maybe it's never crossed their parents' minds, either, but I have preconceived notions, and perhaps one of these days I'll get over them, but for now, I'm still bad attitude girl).  One of these days perhaps I'll also do something new and exciting to write about here in UB, but for now, you're getting summer's leftovers.
I should know myself better than to think playing tour guide to a perfect stranger is a good idea, but back in June, when this chick in Korea emailed me to see if I wanted to show her around at Naadam, I was staring down the barrel of three weeks with no one to keep me company other than my own tour guides in Tibet and Bhutan, so I agreed.  I really liked and respected the ladies who showed me around on my vacation, and even though they had a nice paycheck to make putting up with me a little easier, after trying it myself, I have to respect them even more.  Of course, I was not getting paid, but being around a person ALL THE TIME and having to answer inane questions wouldn't have been much easier if I were.
Anyways.  After sitting out in the sun at the Central Stadium for long enough and having a couple of khuushuur, my new best buddy and I were ready to stretch our legs.  I suggested checking out the Winter Palace, based on the fact that it was close and I'd never been there, despite driving past it twice a day nearly every day.  Rumor amongst my colleagues last year had it that the Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan was the first two-story building in Mongolia.  After being to Kharkhorin last fall and reading about the original capital at the museum, I have my doubts, but it's a nice story, and the palace really is a nice place to have a nose around.

My new bestie had all sorts of questions about the place, most of which I couldn't answer, although a few I DID know, thanks to spending the previous three weeks in the Himalayas.  She busily snapped pictures, scoffing at the same time over a friend who had a "fancy camera like" mine, who was always stopping to take photos of things.  She probably thought I was crazy taking photos of the flowers, but hey, at least my photos weren't all grainy because of sand or dust that got in my camera.

The last building we came to was the big event, although it was kind of anticlimatic.  There are all sorts of stuffed animals in this portion of the museum, but the part that I thought was amazing was the leopard-skin ger that someone important had once given to the Bogd Khan.  There are so many jokes to be made about it that I don't even know where to start, and I'm not even going to try.  But if you come to Mongolia, you should check it out, especially because one of the things I realized while I was playing tour guide is that there just isn't that much to see in Ulaanbaatar if you're only going to be there for three days.  Don't get me wrong, I love Mongolia, but we're not exactly spoiled for choice when it comes to pastimes in UB.  It requires a little more creativity sometimes, and that's a GOOD thing, as I might tell you about soon if you're lucky.

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