Archive for the ‘Mongolia’ tag
Two years living in Mongolia’s capital city flew by remarkably quickly. My bicycling adventures ground to near total halt in the world’s coldest (and most polluted) capital, but there were other fascinating adventures.
Here’s the flyer for my photography exhibit earlier this year, which was my homage to the wonderful country.
Mongolia: Urban + Rural and spaces in between.
I’ll update this page once I get around to making the full photography exhibit viewable online and provide a link.
This year’s Naadam was a hot one. 90+ degrees. Full sun. After the opening ceremony we went outside to the concession areas surrounding the National Stadium. One shady spot served khuusuur and another airag. Airag (fermented horse milk) is actually super refreshing on hot days like this — and mildly alcoholic!
Spring has sprung in the world’s coldest capital!
It was a beautiful day spent exploring the bicycle road bordering Ulaanbaatar’s new National Park just south of the city. This young Mongolian boy is checking me out while his father tries to unstick his bicycle chain, which had jammed between the rear hub and the dropouts.
In the far background you can see parts of Bogd Khan Uul national park, which is the oldest national park in the world. It predates Yellowstone by over 100 years. The peak is over 7400 feet in elevation.
The statue seen above is on the east side of the palace, but I can never remember if this is Ogiidei or Kublai.
I wonder what Chinggis would think about the city dwelling youth of Mongolia today.
The massive square in downtown Ulaanbaatar was re-named Chinggis Khaan Square, but like many other people I’m still in the habit of calling it Sukhbaatar Square. One local said to me, “We don’t have to name every place after Chinggis Khaan. There are other important people in Mongolian history“.
The square needs to be broken up and softened with trees and other organic design elements, in my opinion. The Brutalist, Stalinist-style architecture is cold and uninviting. And why, in Mongolia of all places, does the central square so thoroughly seek to obliterate any relationship to the beauty of the natural landscape?
But as with so many things, beauty and ugliness are two-sides of the same coin.
Walking through the space, it is easy to become disconnected from your surroundings and fellow citizens — and maybe this was the goal of communist architecture. The weight of the nation state feels heavy on one’s psyche…and a feeling (bordering on melancholy) arises upon the realization that mankind’s desire to produce something grand and transcendent has fallen short.
Yet there are other times I walk this square and its Cartesian vectors, carved from the dense and chaotic urban environment of Ulaanbaatar (itself carved from the eurasian steppe’s montane grassland and scrubland ecozone), place the human mind, and it’s role in the evolution of the universe, into sharp resolution.
And for that I am grateful.
If you ever find yourself in Hatgal, Mongolia — New Roots Cafe is the place to go for espresso drinks.
Seeing the Italian Mazzer grinder, I knew I stumbled into the right place.
The barista took her sweet time grinding and tamping the beans, pulling the shot, and heating and pouring the milk — which made for a lovely cappuccino.
Next visit, I hope to have time for a full breakfast here.