Sunday, August 17, 2008

 

Countryside around Ulanbataar

I spent the weekend checking out some of the sights within UB and close by. Our first port of call was to the local Monastery, where we saw a fantastically tall Buddha and listened as scores of monks chanted in meditation.

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Outside the main monastery, housing the statue of Buddha

We hopped in a taxi and travelled across the city to the Big Buddha statue on the banks of the river.

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Big Buddha statue outside UB

From the Buddha statue we climbed the hill to the Russian / Mongolian friendship monument. It was only about 10 minutes to the top, but it was worthwhile. Apart from the fact that it's quite an impressive structure, the views over the city were magnificent.

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The view from the Soviet / Mongolian Friendship monument in the hills over UB

That evening we attended a dinner in one of the volunteers houses. I got speaking to a local Catholic priest, who is involved in pastoral work with young people around the city. I took his number with the hope of meeting up with him later on in my placement to visit his mission.

On Sunday morning we set off to for a Ger tourist camp in the countryside with the new volunteers, who had just arrived yesterday. On the way we stopped at a few vantage points, including this prayer mound. I walked around the mound each time, each time placing a stone on the top of the mound.

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Volunteers Gecca and Ruth attempting to throat sing

We eventually arrived at the tourist camp in the hills. It's like a mini-adventure centre and gives tourists the opportunity to stay overnight and get a bit of a feel for what life is like living in a Ger tent. I stayed in a few last time I was here and experienced them then.

Lunch was an hour away and after having been cooped up in the bus for so long I decided to go for a hike in the surrounding hills.

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The GER camp for tourists

I got back after an hour or so, but there was still no sign of lunch. It eventually arrived at about 3 o' cock, two hours later than expected. We were all ravenous. It was a local Mutton BBQ. The sheep, freshly killed this morning, was hacked up into pieces and boiled in an urn with potatoes and hot stones. The end result can be seen below.

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Choosing the mutton cuts from the BBQ

The meat was very tender, although there was quite a lot of fat on the bones. All in all, I'd have to say that I prefer my meat cuts in the more traditional manner.

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