First few days

11 Nov

Seeing Kiny and Hannah each morning brings tears.

Overcast.  The weather this morning said “the sky will fall today”.  It began a light misty snowfall.

Kiny took me on the trolley downtown.  There are about 1300 tugriks/dollar. The trolley costs 200T per ride and buses are 300T.  A large man got on and sat down in front of us.  He cast nasty looks and said something in a vaguely threatening tone towards us as we spoke.  We finally stopped speaking English and just sat.  There are Mongolian Nationalists who do not like people from other countries to be here.  He eventually changed the objects of his ire to a group of loud, silly schoolgirls at the back of the trolley.

She took me to Mary and Martha to look at the crafts they have there.  Eventually I returned and bought folded paper gers made by prisoners, a calendar of Mongolian landscape photos, felt slippers made by a woman’s cooperative, a purse made with a piece of Khazakh embroidery and some silver earrings each with a deel (say ‘dell’) button on the end and the wire twisted into a typical Mongolian diamond pattern.  We went into several touristy souvenir places and cashmere shops.   Cashmere yarn and raw fiber was not to be seen, only finished high priced goods.

We went to the post office, right across the street from Sukhbaatar Square.  I bought quite a few postcards.  350T each.

5 L milk bought this morning, 7 L two days prior.  900 tugriks/liter.    The cow milk is strained and boiled before use.

Am having Kirsty’s marvelous bread — crusty long loaves with the jam made with something like wild huckleberries. And Roma and milk.  Kirsty makes and bakes most of the bread for two households, does dirty baby diapers and clothes for Peter, runs errands to buy food and pharmaceuticals, bakes special things (3 pineapple upside down cakes for a birthday and Peter’s 1 month coming out of quarantine celebration), and does school.  Oh, and made a 4’x4′ quilt top which is being prepared to be quilted and bound.  By hand.

Had homemade salt pickles last night with Edam-style cheese and bread.  And Roma and milk.

To church at Mongolian Int’l University 3PM with Joshua and Daniel: Korean-run service.  Loud contemporary music.  Several songs BG uses. Sermon on anger–I kept nodding off.  I had to stand up front with about 7 others to be introduced.  The the whole congregation got up and processed by, shaking the hand of each of us.  They sang a ‘blessing song’ to us.  Offerings brought up individually and put in a box in front.  Full meal–raw vegetables, sandwiches, juices offered afterward.  But I was full–rice with chicken and veg topping for lunch.

Visited Hannah and stayed too late.  I waiting for Ganbaat, he waiting (I think) for me to leave and fixing the fence hole made by the neighbors in the hashaa next door.  The hashaa is the enclosure one puts around the land one claims.  Land is up for grabs.  The hashaa formalizes your ownership.  So ger districts have kept expanding.  There are houses as far as one can see to the hill tops in three directions.  The river and low land bounds the fourth.

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