November 24, 2009

Short trip to Darkhan

On Sunday, I rode with Roy, Ani Gyalmo, and Ani P, to Darkhan, Mongolia's second largest city (Ulaanbaatar 1 million, Darkhan 100,000) which is about a three hour drive through the countryside. I think we drove through three small towns in all that time. Saw a lot of goats. It was a nice drive, with the skies clear but it was definitely cold. The National Swine Flu Emergency Measures prohibiting public transportation between towns were relaxed and we saw one bus.

Beautiful as it looks but cold, very cold

Reminds me of Wyoming

What do you say "Get along little goatie"?

Ani Gyalmo was in Darkhan to teach first a Meditation class, then an hour later, Buddhism in a Nutshell, at the Golden Light Sutra Center. But for me it was a working trip too, despite Roy's claim it was just 'a chance to get some fresh air'. During the break in Ani Gyalmo's classes, I met with the president of the local Buddhist Students Association. He wanted to discuss ways I might be able to help the members learn English. They had received funding from Gandan Monastary for a part time teacher and the students themselves were going to rent a classroom, but they still needed books. Hopefully I can help the find what they need.

Dogie translating for Ani Gyalmo

After Ani Gyalmo's classes, we ate at a nearby restaurant which was really just a converted apartment on the first floor. Our table was in what some might call the front bedroom. Nice to be able to close the door and limit the amount of cigarette smoke. Good food, cheap and the waitress was sweet.

The center maintains an apartment for visiting teachers. It was a nice apartment, on the first floor - no climbing up steps. And compared to my room back in Ulaanbaatar, it was quite warm - actually too warm. I didn't sleep well because it was almost stifling hot, not usually a complaint during a Mongolian winter.

Woke early Monday to make the three hour drive back to Ulaanbaatar. A really beautiful landscape. Unfortunately, as we neared Ulaanbaatar, the smog was so thick, you couldn't even see the city. Welcome home. A quick lunch and then had to get ready for 'new student' testing and interviews tonight. Back to work.

An amazing landscape