arrived last night at 1am to Edelwiess Hotel in Ulaanbaatar after riding in a “taxi” with the driver sitting on the right but the roads are driven on the right side too. hmmm. imagine on coming traffic lights shining right into the passanger side and every time a car was about to pass, Art-ek would veer to the right just to be sure we wouldn’t get hit. eek. when there was no on coming traffic we would wend and weave all over the road to avoid the ocean flow of frost heaves. i got the immediate sense of this place being deeply frozen over most of the year. so much so that the weeds are in full force everywhere, there is no gardening going on here, more just an ahem, appreciation for the way nature does it. one also gets the immediate impression that Russia was here not too long ago. the city feels like a Russian city. (or my Western idea of a Russian city, since i’ve never been there). there is no constant in anything…the roads are paved some places and suddenly turn to dirt and rock and puddle, the buildings are sometimes partially freshly painted and then riddled with missing chunks, broken windows and a sense of emptiness alongside brand new buildings, skyscrapers (a few) of glass still being built.
We are at the Amsterdam cafe, free wifi, nice panini and great coffee. We are on are way to check out woolie things at the State Store and then it’s off to the airport to meet the running group and get on an old Russian plane. I actually met a few of the other runners last night on my plane ride from Beijing. A tour group from Switzerland. The two gals sitting next to me had never run a marathon and had not done much training and were using the excuse of the marathon to go someplace unusal for a vacation. uh oh.
This is my last post for a week. No internet at camp. Until next Friday! Wish me luck.