Tuesday, August 12, 2008

pressed for time

Constant culture clashes:

watching Singaporean musician Tanya Chua singing in Chinese on an American television station,

drinking Golden Gobi beer at an English pub while eating "British" pizza that has corn and carrots on it,

eating oreos with a British volunteer and Saikhnaa and listening to Mongolian jazz music at an Irish pub.

A few observations:

It is not unusual to see three old men sharing a mug of vodka on the street at 10 am on Saturday morning. Alcoholism is rampant here.

Oncoming traffic actually speeds up to warn you to get out of the way.

Say "bano" when answering the telephone. It means "hello!"

Since the cell phones here are in English (symbols, keypad, etc.), everyone who uses phones must know English in order to text and to use the phones.

Size is relative: in the US, I am considered small and thin. In Mongolia, I am considered the Jolly Green Giant.

There are Irish pubs everywhere but no Irish to be found.

Even if you are presented with a feast of cheese curds, fermented yak milk vodka, and sheep sausage, you should try it. When is the next time you'll get the chance? However, make sure you take immodium immediately afterwards. It will save you.

Don't be afraid to get dirty.

There is a huge disparity in the price that people will charge Mongolians compared to the price that they will charge foreigners. I'm talking 100x the price. If I sit really still and act mute, I might be able to get away with it.

I am really as bad at singing karaoke as I thought.

The sky in Mongolia is the bluest sky I've ever seen. It's so blue that I don't want to leave, so pure that it feels unreal.

1 comment:

Annie said...

i totally agree with you on not being afraid to be dirty; that's probably one of my biggest take home message from asia


p.s. if YOU are the jolly green giant, what the hell am i?!? ;-P