28.05.2011 - 28.05.2011 24 °C
Woke up in our comfy Ger this morning and enjoyed a really nice western style breakfast. Before leaving the Ger camp we learned how to shoot a traditional Mongolian bow.. of which I have no talent.. Luckily for me neither did any of the rest of the group!
Returned to UB around lunch time and we immediately set out for a local under privilidged school. The school is for teenagers who are required to work to earn a living and who have left school. They do their schooling at night and on the weekend to try and attain their high school certificate. We attended their English class and we tried to help them improve their English. I had two 15 yo girls who were only too keen to practice their English. Considering they are high school drop outs and only 15 I was pretty impressed with their English.. Today's lesson was on hobbies and out door activities.. which was pretty funny as some of them Mongolian's would never learn these hobbies let alone need to know the English words (ie Surfing or Snorkelling!!!) My two girls actually had pretty good English so we were finished our activities quickly. We spent the rest of the time with them trying to teach me Mongolian (again I have no talent). Mongolian written language looks like Russian but apparently the meaning of words/ syntax etc is nothing like Russian. It is a very gutteral language so i've been struggling to say many of the words with the correct accent and emphasis.
San-ban-yo (it sounds like this) is the word for Hello
Bar-ral-lash is the word for Thankyou
Bar-ral-lach is the word for Good Bye
See the problem! Both thankyou and good bye sound pretty similar but you need to emphasise differently and make sure you roll your r's!!!
We then took off to see how the middle class of UB live. Most of them live in Ger districts (which just means they live in either tents or small houses on about a standard sized house block). The streets are dirt and there is no running water or sewerage to any of these homes. To an outsider you would think they live in a slum but this is actually how the middle class live.. I'd hate to see how the poor people live!! They do have electricity but only for lights and tv/ computer. All cooking and heating is done by burning either wood or coal (so you can imagine the smog in the winter time). And all water needs to be hauled from a central well building to the homes. Toilet is a pit toilet dug out the back! There is very little public transport so surprisingly most Mongolian's actually own a car (imported direct from the second hand market in Japan)..
After lunch we returned back to the hotel and spent the afternoon looking for a bank to change our Mongolian Turgrits for Russian Rubles as tomorrow we are back on the train to go to Russia!