First week

Survived my first week in Ulaanbaatar! So far I have:

  • Gone out for dinner (twice). Witnessed a steak served with strawberries. Not even kidding.
  • Eaten traditional Mongolian food (and enjoyed it – much to my surprise. Worst vegetarian ever and loving it.)
  • Gone bowling with the other volunteers (my first time!)
  • Gone to a Mongolian nightclub…yeah, I think I’ll stick to clubbing in London for now.
  • Visited a monastery – now THAT was much cooler.
  • Been shopping in the city center. Found this amazing little clothes store that looked like it had dropped straight out of Camden. Cue MASSIVE SQUEE and impulsive purchasing of hotpants :p
  • Had the floor of my room flooded with water from two floors above.
  • Read 2 great novels (The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt and Virtual Light by William Gibson)
  • Done some drawing, and some running. 🙂
  • And of course, taught a bunch of utterly adorable Mongolian kids the alphabet, numbers, shapes, colours and basic English words. Trying to get them to say “th” was hilarious. (me: “say ‘thirteen'” boy: *sticks tongue out, makes face of fierce concentration* “th-th-FTEER-TEEN!”) They are definitely my favourite thing about being here right now.

So quite eventful! And now, just as I’m getting over the epic jetlag and my stomach bug has progressed from “violent” to merely “painful”, I’ve been floored by a stinking cold. Time for tea and rest.

I can’t say I have any love for UB as a place yet. As far as cities go, this ranks somewhere down there alongside Beijing. The Mongolians themselves though, that’s a different matter. You meet them randomly, get talking, exchange numbers, and the next thing you know they’re taking you out on a tour of their city or inviting you round for dinner! Really friendly  bunch, crazy hospitality, and equally as fascinated about my culture as I am of theirs. It’s a nice kind of relationship to have.

Plans for the coming weeks: visit more monasteries, go to the Black Market,  get out into the countryside, go to one of their “cultural shows” (traditional singing and dancing I think) and visit a couple of museums (particularly the “Intellectual Museum”, which is a museum of puzzle games – sounds really interesting). Gotta teach my kids an English song they can sing for a concert as well. Coming up short of ideas. I don’t think Headhunter would go down well. Suggestions welcome…

9 thoughts on “First week

  1. Tom says:

    You should teach your kids Wreak Havoc by Angelspit. They’d love it 😛

    Sounds like you’re having an amazing time – I’m super jealous!You found Drogo yet?

  2. Piscis says:

    I would so love to see you teaching a bunch of 10-year-olds English… (>^-‘)>

    Awesome to hear how friendly and hospitable everyone is being!

  3. Angie says:

    Been trying to think of songs and so far we’ve come up with so not suitable ones ranging from kumbyaa to rocky horror show to ub40. Hope your cold leaves you quickly. Kids sound great fun! 🙂 x

  4. Ah – Tabby. This is fantastic! (Nice blog, BTW!)

    Seems like only about 20 years ago you were exploring Outer Backgarden.

    How about Oranges & Melons for a song?
    Rule Britannia? A bit imperialistic perhaps.
    Jerusalem? A bit confusing
    Humpty-Dumpty? Nice alliteration. Get them to act it out as well. Perfect for a cast of tens.

    Keep us informed.


    • l3x3n says:

      Was thinking of a Flanders & Swann maybe (like the Hippopotamus song but not that one), or Nelly the Elephant or something like that… wondering if the vocabulary is too advanced for them though, I’ll run them past my supervisor and see what she thinks.

  5. Ann Goodall says:

    Hello Tabby
    Love your blog and am happy to hear your news. Hope the cold is gone and the floor is dry now – must have been quite uncomfortable. Funny food – what is the tea like? What do you get in the way of vegetables and what is the rice like? Yes do go to monasteries and find out how they meditate. How about teaching the children some nursery rhymes like Twinkle twinkle little star, or Baa baa black sheep or The owl and the pussycat or Flowers in an english country garden (on youtube)…??

  6. Ann Goodall says:

    Yes i got that email – i am learning to touch type. do not eat too many eggs – makes you prone to constipation. Tea does not sound too good but can you not get some from the supermarket? have been at college all day today – touch typing is most unnatural wonder if i will ever
    get it. hope you have a lovely birthday i am going to play that song about flowers love mummyx

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