Weather in UB

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Going, going

View from balcony August 2007
View from balcony July 2008
This Sunday is my last day in Mongolia (for now). This also mean the end of this blog (for now). I don't know what my next undertaking will be, but I am leaving this country having successfully completed my research. I even earned myself a Masters degree.
I'm not really sure what to end with, but I dug up a picture I took when I first moved in my apartment in late August 2007 and I'm putting it next to a picture of my view now. As you can see there is a major building boom here in UB. This place is changing daily. It'll be interesting to see what transpires in Mongolia both politically and socially in the coming months and years.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I saw the movie Mongol last night. I was lucky enough to be sitting with a physical anthropologist who focuses on the region. This movie was so historically inaccurate, it was nerve wrecking. It should be tagged "The un-true story of Genghis Khan". The actual story of Chinggis Khan's life, as depicted in The Secret History, is far more interesting then Sergei Bodrov's fictional script. Not to mention the fact that the movie seems to lump Central Asian culture (from multiple centuries) in to one pan-Mongolian theme (Uzbek clothes, Tibetan earrings, Turkmen rugs and head scarves, Kazakh gers...) The film also depicts Borte (Chinggis Khan's wife) as slutty, which is sick. Borte is held high in Mongolian culture as a devote wife and mother, and almost a goddess. The actors (Chinngis is played by a Japanese actor) speak Mongolian in the movie...or at least you think they do. Mongolian is not my native language, but I can say with certainty that their Mongolian was awful. Especially the actor who played Jamukah. I guess they made them speak Mongolian to make the movie seem foreign and interesting. To me it just made it seem ridiculous.
I totally understand why my Mongolian friends said the movie was terrible. It's just another movie wrongly depicting Mongolians and Mongolian history. I suppose if you watch it as a work of pure fiction (which it is) you may be able to appreciate the cinematography.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Highlights from Beijing

My friend and I took a long weekend in Beijing last week and these pics are some of the highlights of that trip. I had major culture shock in Beijing because UB is nothing like that! We had a great time and oddly enough when we landed back in UB we were both happy to be home. The weather in China was pretty rainy and smoggy/foggy. It looked like they are pretty well prepared for the Olympics minus the pollution. However, if you are thinking of going during the Olympics, good luck getting a Visa because the regulations have changed and Visa's are being denied left and right (at least in UB). Warning sign in the hutong (click on it to read the fine print)
Great wall under great clouds
Taking the cable car down from the wall
Jocelyn and I renting bikes-the best thing to do in Beijing
The Forbidden City
Bill Clinton sat in the cable car I sat in
Ulaana storms the Great Wall in honor of the Mongols

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Bee Venom Therapy

bee keeper has the bee in hand
bee keeper pushes the stinger into my arm
The stinger in my arm (it hurt the longer I kept it in)
I thought I was just being a tough chic, but apparently bee stings are therapeutic. Taking a chance and letting the beekeeper sting me with a live honey bee in far eastern Mongolia (days from the nearest hospital) wasn't may have in fact made me healthier! :

People who use bee venom for medicinal purposes don't wait around for random insect attacks. Using long tweezers, they pick up live honey bees (which they've usually raised themselves), put the insects next to their skin, and let them do what comes naturally. You might have thought that your single encounter with a bee was enough, but people undergoing apitherapy may get stung 80 times a day or more.

Why would anyone subject himself to such pain? Because bee stings are thought to help ease the symptoms of a wide variety of diseases, including arthritis, multiple sclerosis, tendonitis, and fibromyalgia; they're also thought to promote desensitization to bee stings. These claims don't come from beekeepers looking for a profit; they're made by patients whose experience with bee venom has turned them into believers. One woman says that 80 stings every other day helped reverse her rheumatoid arthritis. A woman with multiple sclerosis found that the leg spasms she'd been having calmed down after she started using bees to sting herself a few times each day.

Thanks to Rachel for taking these pictures!

Friday, July 4, 2008

More Dornod pictures

Taking a break from the tension of the past few days here in UB (things are calm now), Todd gave me a CD with the pictures he took of our Dornod trip. These pictures prove to me that professional photographers really do take better photos then us normal people. I picked these pictures from over 400 on the CD. You can click on them and see bigger versions.
I recently spent a weekend in Beijing too. I'll be sure to post some pictures from that trip soon.
Enjoy! If you wanna see more of his stuff!

Old woman giving post-rain offering to the gods in Sumber.
The beekeeper and his bees
Bullseye in Choibalsan
Strike, Choibalsan
Happy parents of Yussentumor
The sweetest candid shoot of Saraa's older brother playing with Saraa's cute baby!
Sumber Buddha's, up close and personal
I hope you enjoyed these and remember to check out Todd's site.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Shock: Post election riots

There really isn't much I can say. There were protests outside the MPRP (Mongolian Peoples Revolutionary Party) headquarters yesterday. It started out being over allegations of election fraud, but turned into something different and ugly.

I have a feeling that some people here are frustrated. Frustrated with unemployment, lack of services and they felt the need to take it out on the ruling party. Sadly, they burned a large portion of the MPRP building (possibly burning the archives) and the looted a nearby art gallery and the State Symphony. It's a sad day for Mongolia.
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