Needless to say, we have arrived in Mongolia. Ullaanbator isnt the cleanest city by any standards whatsoever, the streets are lined with trash, the air was so thick as we rolled into town that could literally see the street lights beams shining all the way to the ground. The surrounding neighborhoods of the city are pseudo-slums. The residents who love in gers are all burning wet wood filling the air with a tremendous amount of smoke and other pollutants. The “river” we walked by today was yellow with fifth and my chest has felt heavier than normal throughout the day. Still, I very much like the city. It has a tremendous clash of old and new. Even the people seem to illustrate this pretty well. We see older folks wearing traditional garbs while the younger generation is decorated in fancy hair styles, designer jeans and other fashionable attire. From ancient to modern in one generation. The buildings clearly illustrate this change as well. Cranes line the skyway and yet other buildings are dilapidated and caving in on themselves.
We spent the day running errands, about the ones you’d expect. We arranged transportation up to Moron, where we will meet Mishig who is coordinating with the reindeer herders for our resupply, we got extended stay visas, visited with National Geographic Mongolia, and stopped by the US Embassy. We met with a consular and let her know of our plans she told us that it is unlikely we will be shot by the ninja miners who live up in the Darhad.
On Monday, we will begin the 700km journey up to the Darhad and from Hatgal, we will begin our ski. For now, Jason and Forrest have both come down with stomach ailments though they both seem to have contracted them in Bozeman. Somewhat humorous I guess to come to Asia and bring the stomach challenges with you.
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