Saturday, July 2, 2016

Momgolia Part 4: Back to Ulaanbaatar

*Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of these last few days. I think all of the pictures taken were on Mom’s camera.

After another 6-7 hour taxi ride back to the capitol city, we checked in to our hostel. That night, we ate at MexiKhan, which serves a combination menu of Mexican and Cuban food. It was amazing.

The next day, we went to Gandantegchinlen Monastery. It’s a long name, I know. Most people just call it “Gandan” for short. This Buddhist monastery is one of the most historic in Ulaanbaataar. It has been built and rebuilt since the early 1800s, and it is home to about 150 monks. Inside the main temple, there is a statue of Avalokiteśvara, a bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. It is huge and takes up the whole building at 90 feet tall. There are walls of prayer wheels surrounding the statue, and as visitors leave the building, they walk backwards through the entrance so as not to turn their backs on such a magnificent and reverent statue.

In the afternoon, we geared up for shopping at Naruuntuul, which is called ‘the Black Market’ by English speakers in UB. It is a huge open air market with rows and rows of anything you could possible want. Mom had a list of things to buy, and we were lucky to find almost all of it at Naruuntuul for great prices. She bought all kinds of stuff: a wooden carving of a little man playing an Asian instrument, felt slippers, a Mongolian deel for her granddaughter, new curtains for her dining room (the curtains in Mongolia are very elaborate), a handmade leather belt, and more.

That night we dined at the Blue Sky Hotel Lounge. The food was okay, but the view was divine. There was a live band playing also, which is always nice.

The next and final day, we did some minor shopping at stores close by to finish getting the things on Mom’s list. She also bought me a new pair of Mongolian earrings, which I will show in a later post. We mostly hung out at the hostel relaxing and spending time together. For dinner, we went to a Korean place, and the food was, of course, amazing!

Back at the hostel, Mom packed her things. We took her to the airport in a taxi and all too soon, she was heading past security and out of sight. Her flight to Seoul departed at 12:55am, and then Momgolia reverted back to plain old Mongolia.

Overall, it was a great vacation for Caleb and me, and I think it was a grand adventure for Mom. The two weeks she was here went by so quickly, but I’m so glad she was able to come and get a little taste of life in Mongolia. 

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