You might assume that since it’s hot here, and practically June (May 31), no one needs a jacket. However, everyone here reminds me seemingly every five seconds that Mongolian weather is unpredictable and it could snow again this afternoon. If there are weather forecasts on the local news, it seems that nobody trusts them, much less listens to them.

Jacket Shopping

Dasha takes me jacket shopping. Unfortunately, I’m a horrendous shopper and instead browse the cool Mongolian leather boots with pointy toes that curve up towards the sky and silky smooth camel hair scarves. How cool would it be to return home with a sweet pair of those boots!?! And, the scarves are so soft, I just want to nuzzle one for a while.

I hate to buy another jacket, since the one I left at home is great. It’s hooded and warm, similar to this one.

Camel hair yarn at one of the shops. So soft! This is not jacket shopping.

Camel hair yarn at one of the shops. So soft!

Currency Exchange

After quitting jacket shopping (with no jacket), we drive to the currency exchange shop, which is super organized with money counting machines, efficient service, and nice people. This is no average Guatemalan bank, where they search for cash to change US$150. Here, my 3 USD $100 bills are promptly converted into fat wads of 5,000 and 20,000 tugrik bills at about 1,800 tugrik to the dollar. When I say ‘fat’, I mean about 4 inches (a lot of centimeters) thick. My money no longer fits in my front pocket, and I’m forced to distribute it in my back pack.

Great. I have to carry money in a daypack in what I’ve been told is the pickpocket capital of the world. I think every single person I’ve spoken with about this city has warned be about getting pickpocketed. Even Dasha and his dad made me move my water bottle from the outside pocket to a zippered pocket of my backpack. Really? Someone’s going to rob my water bottle? Well, you get the point– I’m not excited that my cash can’t fit in my pants pockets.

The Department Store

Soon we arrive at the 5-story Department Store and wander around. I recognize bubble tea at a drink stand, and buy 2 glasses for me and Dasha. It’s lukewarm and terrible– not at all like the icy cold sweetness I get at home. I also glance at North Face camping gear and confirm to Dasha three or four times that my sleeping bag is in Mongolia, along with my sleeping pad. “I only forgot my jacket,” I repeat each time Dasha asks if I might have forgotten some other item. He’s so careful and caring, and it’s obvious he’s a dad.

We agree that it’s ok that I brought only 1 pair of sneakers, after I explain that I can put plastic bags over my socks if it’s raining. Satisfied that I’m not a hundred percent stupid, Dasha hesitantly replied “ok, that’s good” and smiled.

Next Chapter: I am transferred to my babysitter. haha!

Previous Chapter: I had dumplings for lunch. Have a look.

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