Ulaanbaatar Then And Now – Part 4

Scott Notes in 2000: Well I am slowly getting used to living the apartment. Even the score between cold water & hot water in the morning is now even so things are improving in that respect. However as you are probably aware it is now in the middle of summer here and there is a lot of activity around Ulanbaatar building outside bars in preparation for the major Mongolian annual festival called Nadaam.  

Thomo Notes in 2005: Even more so in 2005. If a restaurant/bar did not have an outside eating area it pretty much could be guaranteed to be fairly empty in the summer. Summer was great. The endless blue sky and the miles of fenceless steppe are there all the time, but in summer it is special. So easy to love this country.

Scott Notes in 2000: So much so that the building next to my apartment which housed a small supermarket (sorry getting used to Mongolia – a small corner grocery shop) has built an outside bar to its entrance. Of course Mongolians like a drink or two, especially the vodka which is actually quite good  & cheap, and so I now have to put up with the noise of 1970’s music and rowdy drunken Mongolians drinking there until all hours of the morning.

Thomo Notes in 2005: Er, yes, well, some things change and some things remain the same 🙂  Actually, vodka seems to be a big problem here, in the same fashion as it is in other Central Asian Republics. It is not unusual to see guys passed out from it in the middle of the day. As Tseye has said before to me (actually, it was after the night I was passed out from vodka over consumption), “nothing good ever follows Vodka!”

Scott Notes in 2000: As if that is not enough the empty space between my apartment building & the small grocery store & outside bar has in the past week be turned into a car repair site. It was last Sunday night when approximately 1am in the morning I was awoken with the sound of metal being dragged across the ground & dropped. For the next 5 hours there was constant loud noise as two guys pulled, dragged, spot welded metal to secure what was before an open area. At the same time they were using a vehicle to light the area where they were working, and every so often, would rev up the engine for about 15 minutes or so, presumably to keep the battery alive. So I didn’t have that much sleep that night. The next night however I found out that they had installed an outside security light which just happens to shine right into my bedroom window – just what I need – free night time light! Apparently there are no noise pollution laws here so I am now constantly subject the noise of car repair work being carried out to all hours of the night. It is enough to turn one to turn to drink – which I would not do as you would appreciate.

Thomo Notes in 2005: Hmm, perhaps a little exageration there … Scotty has been known to imbibe the odd wee dram from time to time. 🙂  In one respect he is correct, there is lots of noise around Ulaanbaatar. Next to my apartment another apartment building is being built. It was not unusual when the concrete pours were occuring, or even later, for work to continue on the building until midnight or so.   Mind, as the weather gets colder, so the work finishes earlier.

Scott Notes in 2000: The other morning, when the hot water was working, there was a knock at the front door. A Mongolian was there speaking to me in Mongolian, as most Mongolians do. And when I indicated I did not speak Mongolian he became slightly agitated, gesturing wildly with his hands. Eventually l realised he wanted to come into the apartment and  so I let him in, thinking he was there to do a job or something.. He went straight to the bathroom, and continuing his wild gestures, finally got the message across to me that the shower water was leaking through to his apartment below. I am now worried that if water can easily pass through from 1 floor to another than what about the roof! As I am located on the top floor of the apartment building – guess I will find out shortly as the rain season has just started.

Thomo Notes in 2005: Always the fear – the knock on the door in a foreign country. You don’t speak the language so how do you communicate?

More from Scott later.

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