I arrived in Mongolia about two weeks ago but it seems like ages already. For a Westerner like me it has been quite a culture shock. First of all, the language is so complex, with many clicks and sounds that resemble more Inuit than anything i have ever heard. Most Mongolians are hesitant to even tell you their name because they know you will make a dog’s breakfast out of it!

The artists who arrived early like myself stayed in a Ger (yurt) camp outside of the capital of Ulaanbataar. the Gers are very beautiful but i was not well equiped for the cold weather that began after i arrived. I had not brought a sleeping bag and so the simple quilt on the hard bed made for uncomfortable sleeping. They have stoves which resemble the old “air tight” we used to have in the Kootenays- it is basically made from cheap thin metal and does not retain the heat. I had to get used to the Mongolian diet which consists mostly of meat, such as mutton and very little in the way of vegetables. Not being a big meat eater this has been a problem for me but it is my only real source of protein.

I met two very charming little girls at the camp, who dressed everyday in pink from head to toe and loved to coax the artists to play with them. Mongolian children are very very beautiful. I learned today that kids have blue spots on their backside that eventually fade away. To them this is a proof of being pure Mongolian and descents of Ghingis Khan.

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