Weather in UB

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Wild West of the East

Kid getting water from the river with a little help from his friends
Me, friends, and cute 1/2 naked children
Freak snowstorm in Choibalsan: A place that's a little bit "country" and a little bit "rock n' roll"Camel carts share the road with cars
Mostly frozen Kherlen River in Choibalsan
The beautiful city of Choibalsan, as seen from the river in the morning.
Some things have changed in Choibalsan over the last 2 years. For example, there is now reliable, relatively high speed Internet. I can't watch Youtube videos, but it's just as good as my connection in UB.
Being here again is kind of strange. It's almost as if I never left. I surprised a bunch of friends who told me that they thought they would never see me again.It's been really nice to reconnect with people.
I've been pretty busy with interviews and research. I've really been employing some "high level" thinking skills out here. In addition to all of my academic endeavors, I was asked to judge the English competition at the Dornod Aimag Courthouse. consequently, I am staying with one of the judges. He organized the competition and as a favor to him I agreed to be the "foreign expert". There were 4 teams: North star, Five Fingers of a Hand, BINGO, and Venus. They chose the team names. They had to do an introduction, sing a song, Q and A, and name that word. Overall, it was pretty entertaining for me. I had adults trying to impress me with their English skills. Honestly, judging this competition of adults wasn't that far from the students competitions I used to judge when I was a teacher here. Competitions are very much a part of life here and that doesn't stop at grade 11. Additionally none of the competitors actually spoke English. They all studied Russian. That added another element of humor as I tried to decipher English words pronounced Russian style with Mongolian accents.
Annie and team "Bingo" the winners of the Courthouse English Competition
Me, laying down the law I've also been walking around the town and checking things out. Last week and this weekend have been pretty warm (in the 40sF), so I was able to go out running in the morning by the river and chat with the old folks as they do their morning exercises. There must have been an influx of missionaries here in the past 2 years, because nearly every person I met asks if I am a "Jesus person". I tell em I'm just a "zugeer" or "OK" person. that seems to settle it. A herder approached me here the other day. He was so curious about who I was and since he was staring at me I said "what?" Once he heard me speak Mongolian, I got 1000 questions concerning my availability, marriage status, and whether or not I had children. He made sure I knew what soum he lives in in case I wanted to come and see, and as we went our separate ways he shouted "I love you."
The cutest white bull in the whole aimag-"Tsaagana"


jaspal said...

Are you wearing that judge outfit to your interviews and focus groups?

John said...

I miss the Choi. How is teh 7/11 you lived next to? Has it expanded into a Walmart?
Love you REAR!

Pat said...

Is team BINGO the powerplant staff?

Andrew Campbell said...

Nice bull.

Sorry haven't been by in a while, but the opportunity to check out a few recent pics of our favorite eastern Mongolian resort was too hard to resist. Think I might have met that camel two years ago... looks familiar.

Did they get lights for the streetlamps yet? or does everyone not go out at night still to avoid falling in those random deep holes?

Rock on.