Friday, February 29, 2008

Sports in Mongolia

Mongolian wrestling (Mongolian: бөх, bökh) is a traditional sport that has existed in Mongolia for centuries. Wrestling is one of Mongolia’s age-old "Three Manly Skills" (along with horsemanship and archery). Genghis Khan considered wrestling to be an important way to keep his army in good physical and combat shape. Wrestling was also used occasionally as a way of eliminating political rivals. Mongol history records incidents of the Khan arranging to have political enemies killed via a wrestling match. Wikipedia for more info, of course.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Arts in Mongolia - Murin Khuur

The horse-head fiddle, or morin khuur, is a distinctively Mongolian instrument and is seen as a symbol of the country. The instrument is two-stringed and is bowed like a cello. There is some controversy regarding the traditional carving of a horse on the upper end of the pegbox. Some scholars believe that this is proof that the instrument was originally a shamanistic instrument, as the staffs of shamans have a horse similarly carved on top; the horse is a much-revered animal in Mongolia.

The “Electric Transport” Company.

D. Jargalsaikhan, the General Director of the company. The Trolley Bus Company. He kindly agreed to meet me and talk about the future of the Tbus in Mongolia. For more see the Trolley Bus Blog including the first pictures of 4-003.

Secure Livelihoods Group Network Meeting, February 2008.

The meeting was held in the UB2 Hotel, Terelj. 15 of us in all including new VSO arrivals in Mongolia, Brian, Philippa, Sandra and Sheila. We talked over different stuff including a really interesting session on what progress we as individuals were making in our different placements. In the secure livelihoods group there are such a diversity of placements, ranging from vetinary via fabric design to construction. The focus for us all is to help the 30% + of the local population get a secure livelihood, whether it is from herding, cashmere producing or bricklaying.

With an overnight stay, time to socialise. Clare and Greg are the other couple in the group, both also having placements with VSO. Another 2 for the price of 1 package!!!!

Networking in Terelj

The VSO secure livelihoods group to which Gek and I belong held a networking meeting including an overnight stay at the UB2 in Terelj. Thing is, we are well into our second year in Mongolia and it feels strange to be repeating events that were so novel 12 months ago. But this time we are both part of VSO and by accident (or design?), in the same group.

Last year we held the network meeting here in mid March. There was much more snow on the ground then. Enough snow to do sledging on the slope just outside the UB2. This is the scene 22nd February 2008. The snow barely covers the ground. Global Warming?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Arts in Mongolia - Khöömii

Overtone singing, also known as throat singing, overtone chanting, or harmonic singing, is a type of singing in which the singer manipulates the harmonic resonances (or formants) created as air travels from the lungs, past the vocal folds, and out the lips to produce a melody. So there you have it. For more check out Wikipedia.

The Arts in Mongolia - Long Song

This genre is not called "Long song" because the songs are long (even if some of them are), but because each syllable of text is extended for a long duration. A four-minute song may only consist of ten words. Check out Wikipedia for more.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Each child received a present donated by, amongst others, an Australian Rotary Club.

Most of the children were waiting until they got home before opening their presents.

The dinners.

For some special blog visitors………you know who you are.


Gek, Basca and Gantulga

Gek and Selenge, a brave young lady.



The Banquet

Greetings over…………food.

On the end of the top table, chums tuck in.

Tsagaan Sar Greetings

Before we sat down for lunch all the children awaited in line to give us seniors a special Tsagaan Sar greeting, a zolgokh. Over 80 kids in all.

The greeting, with the equivalent wishing each other a Happy New Year, involves extending your arms towards your friend, palms up. The older of the two of you places his/her extended arms topmost in the embrace.

This action is followed by a cheek kiss on both sides, here from Ariunaa.

An opportunity for some to nick a sweetie whilst all this greeting stuff is going on!!!!

Lotus Tsagaan Sar

Mongolian New Year Day feast for the kids at Lotus.

The ul boov is the centrepiece with 7 layers, the older the family members the more layers. Newly weds…. 3 layers but at government gatherings the number of layers goes up to 9, the magic number.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Snow Scapes

The winter scene at the head of the way down into the park. This view has now been pictured in all four seasons.

Scenes in the park are even more beautiful than in summer. And there are no ger camps. Bonus.


and Nymaa, on the way back to the smoke of UB. Well, UB takes up only a small, small part of Mongolia, leaving the rest to look like this.

Festival goers.

Small prize for working out which small lady is holding up which small lady!!! Answers on an email too………

You could get horse rides. But some needed drivers to go with the horse.
Other VSO, some almost unrecognisable, including Zuhara made the trip

Gek and Mavis. I recognised the blue hat first. Spotted it yards away!!!

And we didn’t ask the camel to smile for the camera, honest. Well at least he/she wasn’t weeping!!

Horses and Eagles

In formation down the hill,

wheeling round and back the way they came

all flying together!!!!

I still find it extraordinary how small these horses are.

These guys are tough.

Eagles and Men, Young and Old

Me and my bird


At the start of the action the birds were released from a high rock to swoop down on a fox fur towed behind a horse.

Star of the show……Golden eagles. Lots of them.

Eagle 1, horse 0. But then you have to get the fox away from the bird. Not that easy sometimes!!!!

Eagle Festival

The festival was held by hunters from the far west of Mongolia, the Khazakhs. They had traveled 1700 km in 4 days with their horses and eagles to have this festival in the Terelj National Park

Not dissimilar to an English country fair. Well…..sort of………

Turn round and this was the scene. Breath taking and at – 20 deg C also second breath taking!!!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Dance Teacher.

I don't know, you try to have a photo opportunity with a fellow educator and what happens? Lotus kids suddenly appear from nowhere and now you have a group photo, bless them.