Weather in UB

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Rocking the Trader Joe's bag outside the Hovd Theater
I just got back from Hovd, Western Mongolia, one of my research sites. The one thing that really differentiates Hovd from the rest of Mongolia is that fact that most of the restaurants serve "haluun chinjew" paste. Mongolian food is generally salty and bland, but this stuff can spice up anything! As my father would say, "it makes a rabbit spit in a bulldogs face."
Red Pepper Paste-Thank you China!
This was my first trip to Hovd and I was lucky enough to have some Peace Corps connections. As an RPCV, I was able to contact the volunteers who were staying in Hovd and stay with them in exchange for green vegetables which I purchased in UB and brought out to Hovd. In the winter Hovd has a very limited fruit and vegetable selection, so the volunteers were so excited to eat fresh veggies. They were also very helpful in setting up connections and interviews with locals.
Hovd is "considered remote even by Mongolian standards" according to Wikipedia! That's really amusing. I would say that it's a pretty standard Mongolian aimag (provinical) center. In the summer it's know for it's watermelons and cantaloupe, unfortunately I saw none of that. One notable thing is that there are some Kazakh people who live in Hovd, and I must say that hearing Kazakh was refreshing as I am usually surrounded by Mongolian speakers. Plus, I got to buy some beautiful Kazakh wallhangings, purses and pillowcases! The fun fact I learned about Hovd is that the rich families (all 2 of them) spend their weekends in Urumqi (Western China). I heard that with 2 drivers you can make it there in 24 hours! I bet that's where the red pepper paste comes from.
It snowed 3 of the days that I was in Hovd which is really unusual for such a dry place. It was really cold (to be expected) and the remarkable thing is that even though the power plant seems to be chugging coal, none of the buildings were warm inside...bad insulation. I was just happy that the hot water was working.
My research went really well and I got to check out the "city". The most insane (aside from the usual insanity) part came at 7:45 this morning when I airline called and said that check-in was over and the plane was leaving at 8am. It was supposed to leave at 10:20, but they pushed it up, and some how the foreigners never got the message. Some of the Peace Corps volunteers were also going to UB and we all hurried to make the flight. One guy lives in a Mongolian ger, so he had a variety of chores he had to complete to "close up" the ger. We got a local car on the street and with the airport in sight, the car started to fail, it was almost out of gas. So we sat in this car, going at a snails pace hoping the airplane didn't take off. Once we got to the airport, it became apparent that we weren't the only ones who hadn't gotten the message. Needless to say, we made the flight and made it safely to UB.
I took some photos in Hovd and here are the ones you might enjoy.
Downtown Hovd

An ass outside the Freedom Disco. Photo credit: S. WedlakeOne of the Secondary Schools in Hovd

Play time in the courtyard

The "Vibrator" Bar

I'll post some more pictures later when the internet speeds up!


Clare said...

I'm pickin' up sweet vibrations.

Amie said...

Did you visit the museum in the provincial city of Hovd? I'm asking because the translation that I just finished for Ayurzana is a short story which drew a lot of its inspiration from the Hovd War of 1912 (a short war which lasted only three months). Supposedly there is a sword (or saber-I like that word better) in the provincial museum from that time period. Anyway, the translation is finished and Ayur is back in Mongolia (UB). He says it's been pretty cold the past couple days. I'll send you a copy of the translation. . . It's very uncanny, dark, and a little Edgar Allan Poe-esque (quite unusual for a Mongolian writer). I like it. He's got quite a knack for writing about magical or supernatural things and I think you'd enjoy reading it! Stay warm!

Ulaana said...

It was closed....probably for winter. Next time!

Andrew Campbell said...


Damn! That's where I parked my ass. Got so loaded on Yeltsin and APU at the Freedom I couldn't figure out where I'd left it.


Sean & Tugsu said...

Amraa says, was that sheep easy or hard?