Saturday, November 25, 2006

UB and the Second Snow of the Winter.

Seoul Street. The entrance to the Russian embassy is on the left, just in picture. Not much snow but it did turn the streets a very attractive white. I am devising a Whitworth Cold Scale .
  1. When I first walk out in the mornings and my eyes start to water....... it is cold. My nose will then automatically start to run, no choice.
  2. If my knees start to feel chilled and my chin goes numb...... then it is very cold.
  3. At this stage my fingers start to hurt, in the ski gloves.
  4. Now the soles on my shoes have hardened and it sounds like I am wearing clogs.
  5. You cannot leave the appartment
I am guessing at the moment, but I think 2 on the W.C.scale is somewhere between -5 and -10 deg C. I think the W.C. scale will get to 5, after that there will be no point in measuring.....I will be very stiff!!!!!! We have now actually walked outside in -28 deg C for half an hour and I have to say it was not that bad. Really!!! And I have had to revise the scale W.C. 2 is around -15 deg C. We can cope. Infact, I like it!!!!!!


Ariunaa, my wonderful assistant. She has been my eyes and ears since the project started in September. Ariunaa began as my translator but very soon she became my very capable personal assistant. Fixing up meetings, arranging visits, making suggestions, taking minutes, doing live translations at meetings and of course, document translations

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

More New Buildings in UB

Never mind the building, look at the sky!! This is an hotel ….. and you have guessed it ….on Peace Avenue. I swear, there are other parts of UB I have visited!!!! Honest!

We have watched this building being clad in rather sombre grey tiles since we arrived in UB, but the over all effect is quite striking, I think. I like the modernist feel to the design.

By way of contrast, this is the hotel on the opposite site of our apartment block from the beautiful blue and yellow high rise. Clearly not new.!! If you visit us in UB, this is where we will most probably accommodate you. For $20 / night you get a suit the size of our apartment.

A rather smart office block completed in October this year.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

New Builds in UB

UB is in the middle of building boom….. is that the understatement of the year or what????. Some of the buildings are quite beautiful and all are very colourful. This apartment block is nearing completion, just next door to our own apartment block. The builders are working on the grounds around the building …and it is –10 deg. C out there.

A little further out towards Peace Avenue is another new set of apartments nearing completion.

I love this little number. Not sure what design pedigree it has but it is really sweet. Even has underground parking!!!

And here is another strange little building. Reminds me of two porta-cabins stacked on top of one another!!!!

Peace Avenue – A Sunday Morning in Mid November.

Peace Avenue looking east. Yes, it looks “peaceful” now, at 9:30am on a Sunday morning in November, BUT it is a 6-lane highway which is snared up most of the day during the week.
This close up of an advertising board is very typical. And new, strange language is born….. Mongolised English. “Best Credit”. Check out the blue sky!!!!!! It is everywhere! I am forgetting what rain feels like.

For some unknown reason, I was the cause of some amusement for these three young women. Could have been me struggling with freezing fingers to operate the camera. Anyway, always glad to raise a smile!!!!!

Looking west from the same vantage point as the first picture above. My office is just on the right, opposite the green building, the Construction College.

Looks good, yes? Our project office, Baigal’s room, is on the 2nd floor, first window from the left. My office is on the same floor, with my window looking out from the end of the building.

An update on the office view. Magic, no?

Trolley Bus Passengers.

This is just an excuse to plug my new blog dedicated to UB’s loveable Trolley Buses from here on in referred to as Tbus’s. See the link on the top right of this blog. I have started to Tlog (get it? Ok, not that funny!) the Tbus’s in a photographic register. Sad isn’t it. But they all look like they need some TLC. Or at least some recognition for the long and faithful service they have provided for the last god knows how long. And yes, that is frost……..on the inside of the windows!!! My fingers got very, very, very cold taking these photos for you!!!!.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Landscape.

Such a wide open space and sky.

UB Street Scenes.

Sukhbaatar Square is host to all sorts of events: music, industrial exhibitions, cultural events……..and tennis. A Sunday morning knock about. An outside NEC. And around the corner, pine nut sellers. The season for pine nuts must be nearing its end. Millions of the tiny “nut” have been consumed. The sellers appeared on the streets at the beginning of autumn and the discarded shells are everywhere. They crunch under your feet. I have even taken to going out of my way to stand on a stray shell. Lord knows why.
In almost every quadrangle of apartment blocks you will find a Children’s parks like this one. They have not just swings and slides but all sorts of strange looking mechanical devices for children to exercise on. Almost like an outdoor gym for kids.

Flat Gallery

Our home is doubling as an art gallery. There are currently 7 canvases on display, not all finished, but good to view. Number eight is awaiting inspiration.
We calculate that we can hang about 25 paintings in this room…..then we will have to start in the bedroom. Given that Gek has been painting for about 8 weeks, ie 1 painting / week, we are soon going to run out of walls. We are working on a project to have a jiont exhibition in UB of Gek’s paintings and my photographs. After the event we will auction the works to raise money for the Lotus Children’s Centre. We will have a website from which you can make pre-auction bids. Those children need help.
Gek and I have stumbled on a strange way of working together. Gek paints in layers of colour, very thin layers of colour. When a digital photograph is taken of an image and enhanced by the computer, some of the layers reappear and rather beautiful effects are created. Two examples are show here. Even better, these “altered” images affect Gek’s subsequent approach to the painting. Hummmmm…….interesting!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Sushi Lunch

The sushi master.
Along with Aaron, Joe shared the honours for “Sushi Maker Most Excellent”. 5th of November with a difference. Gek and I hosted a DIY sushi lunch at our place. Mind you, we had all forgotten that it WAS bonfire night!!!! But hey……who needs an excuse for a gathering.

The August 2006 crew were joined by Rob, a Dutch VSO recently arrived in UB, making our party 11 from 8 different countries………well, 9 if you count MC as coming from French Canada,….. so to speak. Gek’s soup to warm us, (it was –14 degrees C last night), sushi and freshly popped corn for afters. Peanut and sugar-fruit sushi…..hummmmmmm.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Bronzes Around Ulaanbaatar

To start with, a very “real” looking wild sheep. These particular sheep are the largest on the planet. They grows to 100 +kg and live in the nothern parts of Mongolia. This striking bronze was erected in UB at the end of September 2006 to highlight the plight of this rare animal.

And now for something completely different. A man in a cube…..not sure if he is trying to escape or he is trying to stop his universe imploding. Shades of Samson and the temple. Blue scarves are found everywhere and represent respect.

Three crazy horses just arrived from the “country side”. This trio are enjoying a small park just off Chinggis Avenue, south of Sukhbaatar Square.
I like this couple. They are sitting opposite the northwest corner of the parliament building, clearly attracted to one another, having a chat . In fact, they keep the sheep company.

Four lovely bronzes arranged in two rectangular raised beds in the pedestrian area of Tourist Street. My personal favourite is the wrestling boys.

Stone Sculptures

Lying on Tourist street…….not sure why, they look a bit lost.

A little trimmer but still looking for their real home, somewhere on a nearly mountain top. Perhaps that is the point. Immigration from rural to urban has created strange, contrasting reliefs.

But……….. people are amazingly adaptable!!!!!