Not everything is good here. There are some downsides as well. A week or so ago Tseye and I were visiting her brother, Munkhbat, in hospital. He had just had a nose operation and we had brought him dinner from one of the restaurants around town (restaurant food being a much better alternative to hospital food – amd that is pretty much the truth anywhere in the world).We were standing in the reception area on the way out looking at some Mongolian newspapers. I pointed to a picture from the movie that had just won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. At this point an bloke around 40 or so comes over, snatches the paper from Tseye and commences to abuse her in Mongolian for being connected to a foreigner.
It was not like the guy had tried to find out the connection – was she my translator, for example, was I an old family friend or such? He just assumed that because I was western I was therefore rich and that was therefore the reason for her being there.
After a couple of threatening gestures with the newspaper, he raised his hand in Tseye’s direction. At this point I should note that he had almost totally ignored me, concentrating on being a real tough guy and abusing Tseye. So, as he rasied his hand, I stepped in front of Tseye, grabbed it and then looked into his eyes. He backed off fairly quickly after that.
We remained inside for another 10 minutes or so and then left. This is the second time I have seen this. The first time was whilst I was in the Mongolian consulate in Erlian, where a drunken Mongolian man of about 50 in age abused Nara from the Bank’s legal department for being married to a foreigner (she was, of course, there in a work capacity assisting in the straightening out of my visa). The gist of the argument always runs the same way and usually contains the question “what’s wrong with Mongolian men?” The answer to that is self evident sometimes. Most are good. These guys though, are ratbags.
I wonder if they abuse Mongolian men who have western women as company?