Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ulan Bator, Mongolia, Days 1 - 3

Ulaanbataaaaaaaaaaaaar, bitches! (...70,000 Mongolian Tughuriks is only about $50 USD)
Look what we found down a back street in Ulan Bator. 
Sühkbaatar Square
Ghengis or as he's called here Chinngis Khan.
Stature of Damdin Sühkbaatar, leader of the 1921 revolution.
From Liverpool to Mongolia, we cannot escape the Beatles.
The Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan.
Buddha statue.

Overlooking Ulan Bator from the Zaizan Memorial.
Part of the mosaic at the very-Soviet Zaizan Memorial.

Smokestacks and cityscape at sunset.
After the hours spent in a bus through the relatively untouched barren landscape of the Mongolian countryside, Ulan Bator appeared in stark contrast. Although the city is dusty, polluted (ranked #2 in the world) and clearly suffering from growing pains, it is very modern and contains an interesting array of culture. 

The first sort of culture shock we encountered was soon after we arrived. The long day on the bus left us both thirsting for a cold brew. We went into a restaurant and ordered some food and a couple beers. The waitress said "No." Her English was clear and good. I asked again, this time more politely. No. We ate our food, reassuring ourselves that we could pick some up on the way home. Long story short... we coincidentally arrived on the 1st of the month, which in Ulan Bator, is when no sales of alcohol are permitted. 

After walking the streets the past few days I have really started to feel like I am in a modernized wild-west town. I don't mean like Wild Wild West. The city is being built up and expanded as fast as possible. People are coming here from all over the world to try and get their piece. We overhead a British Geologist going over his findings to a couple Mongolian businessmen. "There's loads of uranium in there." he said "of course this is all protected land, so it'd be very hard to mine in these areas, but if you could..." 

- Matt