Saturday, June 12, 2010

Afternoon at the River

As we wait out our last few weeks in Bayankhongor, the sun has finally come out - albeit intermittently. It's June 12. It snowed just a few days ago. Snow in June is not as fun as it sounds. Longest... winter... ever.

To celebrate the new-found sun, we walked to the nearby river with our site mates Tysen and Wally. It was the perfect day with temps at 70F (20C) and a clean breeze. Oh, yeah!

We went to our local Ching Hai restaurant, whose spiritual movement invites vegetarianism. They attract followers through small restaurants, and though we have not adopted her particular philosophy, we have been eating there almost every day since it opened late last year. On the menu were steamed rolls with tofu and cucumber, and cookies. We brought our own mustard, honey mustard, hot sauce and soy sauce because the flavor of the "oroomog" rolls is not exactly overwhelmingly strong, though clean and fresh.

With a blanket, Coke and condiments in hand, we made the 10-15 minute walk eastward from the Bayankhongor town center toward the Tuin River (pr. 2-een). The wind was in our hair and sun on our faces. As we sat down for our little feast, we were overwhelmed by the sweet perfume of flowers aggressively wafting past.

Leslie, Tysen and Wally lounge by the Tuin River. What a day for a picnic.

There is a bit of a problem with pollution around these parts. Mongolians usually just throw trash on the ground even when they are at the river for the purpose of communing with nature. Because the wind often blows east toward the river, trash from Bayankhongor winds up in the river too. Plastic bags, plastic bottles, beer bottles, and wrappers fill the slower points and bends in the river.

It's a bit depressing to see all the trash in the river next to such beautiful natural wonders.

After our lovely picnic, we walked past the sports center across the street from our apartment. Apparently, World Cup FEVER has taken hold. The sports center recently got a hold of some artificial turf, and on this Saturday, the field was put to good use.

Mongolia is not in the World Cup, but that doesn't stop them from a little practice.

18 days left before we move out of Bayankhongor. But who's counting?