Here's to my first blog post since arriving in UB! I must say that two things especially stick out for me here: traffic and currency, which will be the focus of this blog entry. I can't believe that I have flown 20 hours to get here, and that I am actually beginning to slowly adjust to life in Mongolia. With my placement beginning to get into full swing, it can only go up from here!
The traffic can be summed up, in my opinion, in the following sentence: If you can drive in UB, you can drive anywhere! This is to say that crossing the road in Mongolia does not, in any capacity, compare to doing the same in Canada. One must be extra cautious, especially due to the seemingly few marked crosswalks and the heavy traffic which seems to make cars less tolerant of pedestrians. Crossing the road, to put it succinctly, can sometimes be a scare...
To the next topic now - that of currency. At the time of this writing, one Canadian dollar equals 1407.06 Mongolian tugrik. That means that my 3000 tugrik chicken burger and Fuze lemonade (from lunch today) is equal to $2.13. A steal, if you ask me! An equivalent in Canada would certainly be at least $5, and that might even be pushing it! Quick and quite delicious service at King's Burger though, today, so I'm not complaining!
Until next time, when I'll update you on UB life with the two topics that stick out the most then...will it be a new Mongolian dish exciting my tastebuds, a crazy trip, or the latest in Mongolian politics? Stay tuned to find out! Bayartai!
woensdag ben ik vertrokken naar Ulaanbatar, met een tussenstop in Istanbul, waar ik tussen de vele reizigers in de transferzone, op de grond heb zitten wachten. Het avontuur, want dat is het wel, is begonnen!
Aangekomen in Mongolië werd ik naar een hostel gebracht. De uitbater is een typische Mongoolse jongen, die heel fier is op zijn traditie. De mensen zijn heel vriendelijk. Ik heb al mogen proeven van een schapen kumiss-airag. Het heeft een zure smaak en het schapenaroma is heel sterk. Daarnaast heb ik ook twee stukjes, in de oven gebakken, lever geproefd. Het viel best wel mee, maar het zal niet gemakkelijk zijn.
Intussen ben ik bij mijn gastfamilie, waar ik buiten bereik ben van alles wat met technologie te maken heeft. Ik zit hier samen met een Australiër.
Wist je dat:
- de hemel er stralend blauw uit zag en er geen wolkje aan de lucht hing?
- Engels best wel belangrijk is?
- een icoonboekje voor op reis handig is?
Groetjes en veel liefs,
I’m sorry this update has taken a while, I have been extremely busy with a range of things. So first of all I have been extremely lucky and had some amazing opportunities that I would never have got in the UK. Firstly I went with the Human Rights NGO that I was working with to the 1000 day countdown to the end of the millennium development goals. For those of you who don't know these are a set of goals set up by the UN in which they try to help developing countries by encouraging and helping them to meet targets such as achieving equal opportunities for girls in education and decreasing child poverty by half by 2015. The meeting was a check on whether Mongolia was meeting the targets or not and which ones need to be accelerated in order to meet the targets set. There was a lot of checking whether boxes have been ticked and discussions over what needed to be done to get the boxes ticked, how the targets could be accelerated to help people. However it seemed to me that the point of the goals and some of the people's goal's were to tick the boxes as opposed to actually achieve real change within the country. Of course many people there were their because they do the concrete work of alleviating poverty but it there must be work done on the targets that have been met because many of them are still huge problems in the country. This was very interesting as I got a real insight into how the UN works in developing country and what good work they do. I even got the cool translating headphones which was a pretty new and cool experience for me.
Another thing I got to go to was another UN meeting but this time of lawyers in Mongolia about how they can use a new piece of legislation passed by the UN. It is called the ICESCR which is the International Convention on Economic ...
The Nomad herder had already ridden his horse home to the Ger we were going to sleep in. I was wading slowly through the snow taking in the scenery of snowy mountains, bare frorests and rocky outcrops under a setting Mongolian sun.
I heard a sheep murmur and then another sheep murmur that was a little higher in pitch. "Baa" went one and then much higher another responded "baa". What could that be? I followed the sound.
I climbed across a steep rock face that was so steep all the snow had sunk off. And I came to them.
There was a wet newborn lamb dragging itself across the ground with its mother licking its wet wool. The lamb couldn't walk yet but it kept up the high pitched baaing as its mother coddled.
I knew it was newborn from the bulging dark red bubble of blood the mother still had stuck to her back side.
I spent ages photographing them. I began to plan how these two could fit in the radio program I'm making. It's on a nomad's winter camp and I've already got so much to say. I'm volunteering at the Voice of Mongolia in English radio program, part of the journalism internships offered by Projects Abroad.
Anyway, I must've spent a while as the nomad guy comes riding back to me. He can't speak English of course so I just point frantically to where the lamb is and he follows me there. He picks it up and carries it on his horse back to the Ger. He manages to at the same time herd the mother there so he can lock them up together safe from the wolves.
The great thing about journalism is you're always working. Another program I made was on Mongolian food. For a couple of weeks I carried around the little handheld recorder they gave me and made some comments when I ate something new. Then I jumped in the studio, gave a bit of background and played the ...
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