The train drew into the station at 7 o’clock which gave me a day to explore Ulaanbaatar. 3 million people live in Mongolia and half of them live here. I was surprised that this country is so different from its Russian neighbors. Gone are the stern Caucasian faces, replaced by Mongolian features that are much more ready to break into a smile or give a warmer welcome.
Gone are the battered Ladas and trucks of southern Siberia, replaced by shiney Japanese motors. Gone are the grey suits and Baboshka scarves, replaced by Western T shirts & colour & style.
Ancient Buddhist temples rub their faded shoulders with glassed giants of offices and new apartment blocks.
I hope these images have given you a flavour of this busy, seemingly affluent, busy city. Mongolia’s economy is based on mining and exporting minerals, especially copper and gold to its two neighbors Russia and China. Agriculture is just as important with the processing and exporting of products from cows, horses & sheep.
Tomorrow I am out to the Gobi desert for eight days. I will be staying in ger camps. Those low, round huts constructed from a framework of wooden poles covered in skins or felt. I am told there will be generators to charge phones but only one camp has Wi-Fi. So, sorry guys, it’s more of those days of famine followed by a day of plenty. At least, because I’m traveling in a 4×4, I’ll be limited in what I can write each day. So, once again……..see you when I see you.