Thursday, September 19, 2013

Random Notes

Mongolia is an interesting place to live.  Food involves some kind of meat, oil, dough (or rice), carrots or potatoes, onion and other spices, and fat.  They are combined in various quantities and forms but are more or less the same.  Khurag (which means 'a piling together') is basically all these things fried and steamed in a pan.  Tsuyuan has no potatoes and a lot more dryish noodles.  Shul means "soup," which has a lot more water and oil.  My favorite is Khuushuur, which takes the dough and instead of noodles makes it like some sort of scone filled with meat and the other basic ingredients listed above.  Buuz are like Khuushuur, but instead of the scone the are more like Chinese dumplings.  We also eat potato salad.  We make mostly Khurag and Tsuiwan at home; we used to get chicken but recently we have been getting horse meat because it is inexpensive, tasty, and lean.

Ulaanbaatar combines rich and poor in an interesting way.  Near the center of the city, huge malls and skyscrapers give the feeling of Japan or Korea.  However, outside the apartments and city center the city is surrounded by a huge thick ring of ger koroolol (tent district).  This is composed of a net of streets dotted by wooden or cement houses about 1,000 sq. feet or less.  Among them are countless yurts (ger, tents) that are round and white like you see in photos.  They are relatively small but will house an entire family.  These yurts have electricity and a TV but not running water.  The inhabitants of these dwellings include people from all walks of life, from college students to employees of various types of companies.  Many of the people we teach the Gospel to live in such homes.

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