The 23rd country
Minus 15º at noon. Plumes of power station stacks on the horizon.
Traffic ignores pedestrians in a desperate rush to somehow be somewhere not here.
Such dry air.
A stray dog licks a block of ice for water. Ice sculptures on the median strip. People wrapped in duvets with sleeves, chatting on their Samsungs.
Hills in the distance above the monastery dusted with icing sugar snow. They say that the face of Chingghis Khan is picked out there with small white rocks against white. Can’t see it myself.
Trying to deviate from the restaurant menu creates polite incomprehension and a failure to deliver. Some signs however must be universal – ask for the bill, invoke the magic of point, gesture and smile. Must learn at least soon how to say “уучлаарай” and “баярлалаа”. But don’t know if it translates well enough when crushed in a lift with some twitchy Russians.
Mongolian people are tall and big-boned, faces like chill granite carvings with pink cheeks. How do they survive this climate? So tough, so proud.
Ubiquitous sparrows. I wonder here just like in Montreal – what do they eat in the winter? How do they keep alive?
At dusk, bigger birds soar and settle on the half-built tower to the west. Vultures? I discover tonight (as they wheel close to ground and come to scale), they are ravens.