Mink Machine

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.

Ulaanbaatar Reine chilling in the cold at Zaisan hill in Ulaanbataar.

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.

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8 comments

  • avatar
    Tess
    28 Sep, 2008

    “Taking a dump”, is that what I think it is? Not sure if that is typical Mongolian.. I even saw that take place in Paris – “the city of love & culture”… :-)

  • avatar
    30 Sep, 2008

    Yeah, it is what you think. Later on I saw that in the street as well.
    In Paris? I thought it was doggy litter on the streets. Blimey. The city of love, culture and poo. :)

  • avatar
    Tess
    01 Oct, 2008

    Haha.. They should use that in their commercials…

  • avatar
    Thane
    15 Dec, 2009

    Borat was right about the peoples of Central Asian….. but at least they are better that the Middle Earth types.lol.

  • avatar
    16 Dec, 2009

    @Thane: Meeting weird people is often the funniest part of a journey. :)

  • avatar
    Tess
    17 Dec, 2009

    I know one weird character i met in Thailand… and oupps, I got engaged with him.. lol.
    I agree… meeting people his half the excitement about the travelling..

  • avatar
    17 Dec, 2009

    One of my favorite weirdos was the guy in Frankfurt who had a “No fear” cap, and tried to light a cigarette on the tarmac next to people who were filling the tank of an Airbus. :)

  • avatar
    Thane
    01 Jan, 2010

    Well at least the codger in Frankfurt had the courage to try to live up to the “No Fear” on his cap. The way he was going he wouldn’t have to do it a second time.lol

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