Dawn in Ulaanbaatar
I got off the Trans-Siberian at 7 am after four nights of irregular sleep, placing my dusty shoes on the pavement of the Ulaanbataar railway station. When tired and hungry, you are an easy target for the shadowy existences walking around here. Luckily it is Sunday morning and the locals tend to sleep a lot.
And before I even got off the train I saw two people taking a dump next to the railway track. Welcome to Mongolia.
The traffic is crazy and within ten minutes I saw my first collision. I read that only half of the vehicles in Mongolia are left-handed, even though the traffic drives on the right side. This seems to be linked to a preference for Japanese imports. As you might expect, there is a lot of honking going on here. The city was originally founded back in 1639, but redesigned by the Soviets in the 1940s and clearly not made for this amount of personal vehicles.
The view from Zaisan hill is impressive, even with all the smoke. With a large coal power plant visible outside the city, the smog is quite heavy and someone told me that during winter the sight range is ten meters! The capital is the second most polluted city in the world.
Oh well, time to change my Russian rubles into Mongolian tögrögs and get something to eat.