Ulan Bator and the Pounds of Power

Trip Start Jul 18, 2006
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8
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Trip End Jul 17, 2007


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Flag of Mongolia  ,
Monday, July 31, 2006

Here we are! Our second day in Ulan Bator (or UB as it is apparently know but we haven't heard anyone say it) and it's by far the best city we've visited so far (we had decided this after about 30 seconds). We were picked up from the station by Idre himself (of Idre's Guest House fame) and taken by minibus to the hostel for free! Idre is a camp fellow to be sure but his hospitality is amazing and is obviosly very proud of his city, one of the first things he did was point out all the things to see in the city on a map. Also, the worsd hostel is a bit harsh; compared to the othere places we've stayed this place is a palace! It's like staying in a nice house, there is even someone who does all you laundry for you for about 80p!
Ulan Bator is a lovely city, it's very small so all the main sites can be reached on foot and there's something about the atmosphere that we both love. The people are really friendly and there are lots of English speakers, as well as English menus! No more 'Russian roulette' at the dinner table! The weather has been amazing. The sun shines really brightly from about 10am to 8-9 in the evening and it must be 30+ at the minute.
So far we've had a mosey round the shops (what else) and have seen the state department store, which is a bit like a Debenhams with an end of stock sale. Wandered round a few more shops and the likes and got some food from a supermarket for 3 pounds, but we got sooo much food for that! On the cultural side we visited the Natural History Museum (one pound!) which was really cool, they've got real dinosaur bones on display, including a full T-Rex skeleton. The other exhibits all seemed to be stuffed animals but it was great just to make amusing comments about the way they were arranged (including the camp and praying bears or the cave man exhibition which seemed to have been used as an excuse to draw pitcures of boobies!). We also saw the monastary, the highlight of which had to be the huge goddess statue standing about 40 feet high, was spectacular, no pics as it wouldn't have done it justice!
The other highlight of the city is the cheapness! You know when you go somewhere and people are like "oh yeah, so and so is really cheap" and you get there and it isn't? Well UB IS, hand on heart, cheap as chips. We had an Italian last night (got to go for the traditional local fare) and for two courses with wine it was about 13pounds! Our lunch today, which was Mongolian and not too bad (best decsribed as mutton and pepper noodles and deep-fried pancakes that tasted like a donner kebab inside) came to about 2 pounds! Hooray!
Anyway guys, we've got to go and meet Ganzorig who's going to deliver our train tickets to us now or we'll never leave UB (not too bad I guess). Tomorrow we're off on a horse trek so will post again after that! Also, apologies for the lack of photos, dial-up speed and photos don't mix!!
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Comments

coplenw
coplenw on

Welcome to UB
I'm glad to see others taking a similar view as mine. Though I now spend about one third of my life there it still feels special. Granted, if you stay longer you will begin to see the downside, (there is one) but it truly is one of the last great frontiers. By the way, for really good Mongolian food, try Modern Nomads. It is very near the Great Hural and close to the banking center, quite good with nice service.

Good luck ad enjoy.

William

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