It has been so long since I have written that I am now going to work backwards from this last month.
After three weeks in Australia travelling around and three weeks in our little house in Bibbenluke... that will be another story...... we headed back to Ulaanbaatar with feet running.
We arrived back to -36C after having enjoyed six weeks of sunshine and without our light jackets we were delighted to be so kindly met at the airport by Captain Chris who was carrying our big heavy winter coats. Chris is an American Marine here in Mongolia for several years and had been staying in our apartment the last few weeks of January. He is now headed to Bahrain to work for a year, so friends in Bahrain can now enjoy his company.
IWAM (International Women’s Association of Mongolia) meeting the first day we were back and as President I feel I have to be on the ball which I am not sure I was after getting back at 1am of the same day.
The February meeting was celebrating Tsargan Tsar which is the Mongolian New Year where they give gifts and eat copious amounts of Buuz (meat in pastry - steamed) or Huurshuur (meat in pastry - fried) and celebrate with family and friends first and then visitors to this wonderful country second. There is generally a weeks holiday with copious amounts of vodka drunk every day to celebrate this special occasion which is a little like the week of Christmas and New Year for the western world.
We were also treated to a very informative talk by a Buddhist Monk from the ‘Zuun Khuree Dashi Choiling Monastery’ who invited anyone who wanted to attend, their ceremony starting at 4pm at the Monastery. Four of us were treated to a wonderfully interesting ceremony which although we didn’t understand exactly know what was going on was none-the-less fascinating.
We also had a wonderful musician who played the Morin Khuur (a traditional Mongolian horse headed fiddle) and sang with his throat, believe it or not called throat singing, which is an amazing feat that is and very different from any other form of singing.
A great welcome back to Mongolia.
Tsaagan Sar celebration didn’t end for us with the IWAM meeting as we went on to celebrate towards the end of the week at friends, where vodka was liberally dispensed plus other libacious liquids were also imbibed. A great night with many of us wearing the traditional Mongolian ‘deel’ to honour this time in Mongolia.