I arrived in the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaator (UB), about a day and a half ago– the 12 hour time difference is messing with my sense of time– and I am just starting to get a feel for the city.
Overall, the city feels stuck sometime in the 1970s– what else could possibly explain the sheer number of discos? In addition to discos, pubs seem to be the main form of entertainment for locals.
UB is a fairly nondescript city; a mixture of Soviet-style buildings, a reminder of over half a century of Soviet occupation, and new construction. Everywhere you turn there is construction, the din of hammers and saws fills the air. Although, it appears that there may be some quality control issues; I’m told that one new building, the tallest thus far in UB, is going to have to be torn down and completely rebuilt because of some error in construction.
Another interesting UB occurrence: manhole covers, or rather the lack thereof. The metal covers fetch a decent price on the scrap metal market, so locals will often remove them, leaving the unsuspecting tourist to plummet into the underbelly of the UB sewage system.
Also, I have now mastered two words in Mongolian: sain bainuu, which means “hello”, and the ubiquitous margaash, which is literally translated as “tomorrow,” but which in reality means “some time in the future that is not today, and is more than likely not tomorrow, or anytime in the near future.”