Sunday, October 12, 2014

Chillin' With Chinggis


I continue to stand by my previous statement that getting there is NOT half the fun.  However, traveling with Engrish does have its charms, and in spite of the decidedly less attractive countryside, I enjoyed this trek a lot more than the one to Khuvsgul in June, largely thanks to her. 

For starters, she knows a helluva lot more Mongolian than I do, but she's even better at talking to people in English than I am.  As we left our luxury digs (that was sarcasm, there) in Baruun-Urt in search of adventure out on the town, we ran into a Peace Corps volunteer.  Pretty much every Peace Corps person I've ever met dresses pretty shabby, and I guess that goes with the territory, but I still thought Heath was just about the cutest thing I've seen all year, so when he invited himself to walk with us (apparently that's what you do when you're one of five English speakers living in a town - well, three times the size of Glenwood) we were happy to oblige him.  We did a pretty good circuit of the town, and he invited us to eat pizza with him and his four friends, but we ended up parting ways when we got back to where we met him.  At that point, a drunk Mongolian guy decided it was time to practice what little English he knew, and Heath tried to distract him as Engrish and I snuck off. 

Sadly, he was not a very good distraction, because the drunk guy kept trying to get our attention, and as a result, Engrish walked into a pole.  It made a nice "DONG!" and I would like to say I didn't laugh, but, well, I don't have an evil streak so much as an occasional good streak.
The most interesting parts of the journey I've already told you about.  After the aimag museum in Baruun-Urt there wasn't much left to do but roll over all the kilometers between us and UB.  We stayed in Khentii's capital the third night, in a ger camp that was actually closed for the season, but Enkhaa can apparently be pretty persuasive when he doesn't want me and Engrish to pay for a separate hotel room for him.  As we were driving out of town to it the sun started going down, and even my college drawing teacher, Gosnell, couldn't argue that this was "the big one."  I strong-armed Enkhaa into driving up to the ovoo on the top of the hill, with the above result.  Sometimes you get lucky and have perfect timing.
The capital used to be called Öndörkhaan, but thanks to Khentii being even more famous as the birthplace of Chinggis Khaan than it is for its bread, it was renamed Chinggis City in his honor.  Which seems like a bunch of dung (an excellent way to heat your ger in Sukhbaatar, by the way...) but it's kind of like Istanbul/Constantinople...it's nobody's business but the Turks.  Or in this case, the Mongols.  At any rate, we stopped by the Chinggis Colossus on our fourth and final day because while Engrish had been there before, after two years here I still hadn't.  If I believed in working for free, my TripAdvisor review would go something like this:

 Chinggis Colossus
Probably not worth driving two hours out of the city for, but an interesting way of breaking up the drive if you're on your way home.  7,000 tugs seems steep unless you desperately need to drop deuce and couldn't do it at the ger camp the night before due to a bird in the outhouse that just about gave you a heart attack (true story).  There's a giant boot inside made from about a billion cowhides, and you know what they say about men with big feet!

In fact, there is a large white statue of an...appendage...in the hills somewhere between the statue and Terelj park, but I'm not sure where.  As much as I would love to find it, I've embarrassed Enkhaa enough the two times I made him take us to see the small one in Kharkhorin.  One of these days I may have to rent a car and go looking.  Hopefully Engrish will be up for a wild goose chase...or perhaps I should say a wild swan chase.  As much as I love her, though, I still can't talk anime with her, so it was pointless to compare the blue skies of Mongolia to that of the Seireitei (I've moved on from Fairy Tail to Bleach).  I guess that's still what students are for.  It's nice to have a job I actually look forward to going back to tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. it is always so interesting and so much fun to read your blog. The "Sexism on the Steppe" is great. Ha ha ha. So funny.
    By the way i know where the large white statute of an appendage in the hills.

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