Weather in UB

Friday, October 5, 2007

Amusing Musings

People silently judge me everyday. For the last month I thought everyone was looking at my crotch when they talked by. It dawned on am a week or two ago that they are looking at my shoes. Shoes are very important here. It’s the first thing everyone sees. If your shoes are the slightest big scuffed or dirty, everyone looks down on you. Now, anyone who has ever lived in Mongolia knows that the entire country is dusty, dirty and generally hard to navigate. So, I take a laid back approach…why clean em if you know they are just gonna get dirty, right? WRONG! I saw a man walking down the street actually stop every 10 feet to dust off his shoes. I couldn’t believe it. This leads me to another point. People here had a tendency to walk very slowly, as if they have no place to go. Now, maybe that’s true, maybe they have no where to be, but the sidewalks are so small and crowded, it forces the people who do have somewhere to be to walk slower. I suppose concepts of time are very different here than they are in the states. It some ways this is refreshing, in other ways it’s completely frustrating. When you add the fact that this is a culture that likes to link arms while walking, you could be stuck walking at a turtle-like pace for blocks with no way to get around someone! Unless you give em the old nudge in the back, or hit their legs with a cane like the old ladies do.
On a completely different note, I’m going to the Mongolian Music Awards tonight. A friend of mine is friends with Deegi, the famous, hip, Mongolian violinist, and she got a group of us tickets. It should be a hoot. I’ll take lots of pics!


Christian said...

My solution to the shoe thing is to wear dust-colored hiking boots most of the time. So far they don't really know what to think of that.

As for the music awards, I'm looking forward to those pictures : )

Meg said...


it's not often that I get to have a morning read that includes the word 'crotch.' Thanks for that.

The 'slow walking' phenomenon would never fly here in NYC. High leverage tourist areas yield a fun clash of fast-paced New Yorkers glaring / yelling at at slow-moving 'deer-in-headlights' visitors.

I did see the same level of care for shoes in Kazakhstan, where friends would wash their running shoes and wipe-off scuff marks. I always shared the story of how, in America, my friends and I always stepped on each others' new shoes to purposely make them dirty so that they didn't have that 'new shoe' look. Guess that's a function of privilege.

Love you,


Mark Rosenwald said...

I miss the looks I got in UB.

But I will be back in the Spring!

-Tsagaan Bavgaa.