It’s 6am on Mongolia Childrens Day
I don’t know if Dasha’s car is fixed yet. I’m thinking I could go on a tourist tour, and then be back in a few days or a week and by then Dashas car should be fixed all the way, and we can hit the Gobi then.
Today is Children’s Day. A day for playing. I plan on taking lots of photos of it!!! I understand from Dolgormaa’s dad that I don’t need to go anywhere specific, since kids should be playing everywhere, including the playground by my apartment.
Waiting for my exit from the apartment, which I cannot do without someone else (apparently I require a babysitter), I’ve now bitten all my nails from nervousness. I’m considering joining a tour, since Dasha’s car troubles make me nervous– how long will they last? However, I worry that I’ll make Dasha feel bad if I ditch him for a tour. And, yet I definitely need to get into the countryside. Even he says the countryside is much better than in UB for its fresh air.
7am On Children’s Day
Out of the shower; checked my Mongolian cell phone that Dolgormaa’s loaned me. Text message! Bolor, a friend of Ochma’s and fellow Instagramer writes that Instagrammers will meet at a hotel at 4 pm today. Yay!!!! Now it doesn’t matter if I leave on a tour tomorrow or give Dasha another day. I have something to do and somewhere to be where I’m sure to have fun.
Traffic and Cars in Ulaan Baatar
I sat in traffic for what felt like all day yesterday. I’m certain the traffic issues in UB rank up there Los Angeles highway traffic; the only difference being that UB has 2 or 3 lanes instead of 7. Stop and go for miles and miles and forever. UB drivers leave not more than 5 feet of space between themselves and the car ahead of them, lest someone be able to change lanes easily.
How have I not seen a car crash, or even bump, yet? I’m not sure. I’ve seen cars merge in and out with really just 3 inches of space. This reminds me of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where I almost got my kneecap taken off by my aggressive motorcycle taxi driver as he changed lanes. There is barely any honking here. Nearly all the cars are shiny new, including 2 Bentley’s, tons of Prius’s (sometimes 3 parked next to each other in a parking lot), Toyota Land Cruisers, etc. Dasha told me most cars are actually 2nd hand from Japan.
My American neighbor with a Japanese wife told me that when they had first met she had a 2-year old car. The Check Engine light was on, but she ignored it. She’d never had an oil change. Cars in Japan have such strict standards for smog emissions that it is cheaper to buy a new car every couple of years, than to have maintenance and repair work done to pass the smog test for registration renewal. So, they don’t bother with any maintenance.
Put 2 and 2 together and all those shiny smoggy cars get sent to Mongolia!!!! That’s my conclusion. So, this agrees with why the air is not as black as in Guatemala City (cars are 2 years old instead of 10), and why most of the cars look as nice as those on streets in the USA.
Here’s a mix of photos taken before the Instagram meetup and yesterday.
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