Japan bound

In case I forgot to mention this earlier, I’m off to Japan for just over a week visiting my friend Lepa. Good times ahead…

As far as Mongolia goes, the lovely random spring weather is in full swing, with strong cold winds, sunshine, rain, snow and whatever else you can think of. Keeps you on your toes. This also means we’re actually starting to see greenery here and last week, the motorbikes came out, which I haven’t really seen since I’ve been here. There are more people outside more off the time and people are using the playgrounds and basketball courts that are abundant.
Workwise, I managed to get everything sorted, so am feeling a bit more relaxed. This isn’t to say I got everything done, but most things are done and everything else is cool for now.

I leave with a new piece for the illustration project and a couple of stupid photos of me. One I took because I was bored, the other was in my winter clothing again when it decided to be cold and snow again earlier this week. Of course, it’s cropped, so you can’t see the big jacket, but you get the point.

cloudswomanblossoms.jpg
weirdface.jpgmenotbad.jpg

Yak filming!

Many new photos on my flickr, because we went to film an episode of VoiceBox with some yak herders in Terelj. I was a little snap happy, partly because of the yaks and goats, partly because I was taking some for a friend from work who runs a tour company, and partly because my camera was working.

babyyakbeingweird farmyakswide meonarock

It was a great day. After hitting the road and waiting for Bolor, we arrived at the camp of some friends of my boss, who had hooked the whole thing up. I regretted having breakfast, because we were fed tons when we arrived. The home made huushur (fried thing with meat in it) was tasty indeed.

medavedriver davenbolonarock sebcountrypose

After the lovely feed, we headed off to the yak farm, passing on the way as group of schoolkids on a trip, one of which had hair like Coolio. The filming went off well in the end, because we found someone who spoke good enough English to give an interview after the guy we were supposed to got nervous about giving an interview in English.

kidchewingfingers monasterydistanthills yakslookingsurly

More stories soon, but for now I must run because I have frisbee tonight.

yakleadersnow yakinterview sebkidweird

Read the descriptions on flickr for some snippets…

randomfilmcrew updownyakhorns davecave

http://flickr.com/photos/sejibodo

New drawings, plans in the making and other ramblings on

I got plenty of time to doodle and draw over the last week, so some of that’s now on my flickr. Observe:

standingscene trainthing mountainsriverblossom cloudexperiment hillsclouds hmmm

In other news, I am going to Japan to visit my friend Lepa in a couple of weeks, which promises to be exciting. We’re planning and scheming various activities, which I’m so happy about I might just fall over. I’m going to make it to the beach and see the ocean. Maybe even swim in it. This is painfully cool, having been stuck in a landlocked country for the last 6 months.

This weekend holds in store activities involving yaks. I’ll elaborate later and hopefully show pictures, but for now it’s more fun to tease. Ha!

For a little cultural background, just so you know, all Mongolian names mean something. I know most Western names are supposed to mean something too, but they’re long forgotten meanings that you have to dig up in obscure books or some such, so that doesn’t count. I mean names that translate as Beautiful Girl, Mountain Stream and so on. Yesterday, I was told that the name for stomach, innards, guts, offal, etc. is also used as a name here. Imagine calling your kid Guts. Fantastic. (*Edit. The word is actually spelled slightly differently, so it doesn’t mean offal. Unfortunately I don’t the true meaning yet…)
A Mongolian photographer added me as a contact on flickr the other day. His photos are great and in amongst them I found a picture of two dogs eating another dead dog; something I am yet to see here, but doesn’t surprise me, given the harsh climate in winter and the amount of dogs you see randomly roaming the streets. The other day, on the way to meet someone, I did see a dead puppy, far from the first dead dog I’ve seen here.

I got sidetracked. The dude’s photos are great and on the whole pretty light. If you really want to you can find the cannibalistic dog photo, but otherwise it shouldn’t be too hard to avoid.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mongol/ (I may not agree with the small dog thing)
Looking at his stuff also led me to another Mongolian photographer (in France), who also has some great photos.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ninjin/

Back from the Dead

I’ve finally triumphed over yet another sickness and am once again back in the world of the healthy. This one sucked and took me out for most of last week; the second week long illness in a month. It was weird. Very tired and achey, with constant headaches, but not really any other symptoms. I did develop a cough later on, when everything else was starting to clear up.

Enough of that though. It’s over now. I had a great weekend, mainly because I got out hiking for the first time since I’ve been here. It was myself, Sunaree, Joe and Suzie, and we just went for a walk up a valley in the hills behind the Zaisun Memorial, which is just south of town. It’s a nice area to hike through, because it doesn’t take long to get to, there trees and it’s still frozen. The clean air is always nice too.

upvalley joetree2 bluethings

We were looking for a spot that the others had been to before, which is an area where there’s a natural spring that at some point in the year spews forth water and freezes over in the winter, creating these big, icy areas. We passed it by on the way up, but found it on the way back, so we rushed over and proceeded to try to climb up it, so we could slide down. Of course, climbing up slopes of ice isn’t that easy, so there was a fair amount of sliding around and clinging tenaciously to trees.

slidingsunaree treeice3 treeice1

By the end, most, if not all of us had wet arses, because parts of it were melting on top. Most of us fell over to some degree, but luckily there were no injuries.

UBthroughtrees slippery joesuzie

I was exhausted by the time we got back to town, because I was still recovering from illness, but after eating and sleeping like a log, I was ok for frisbee last night and don’t hurt today, so all is well.

gercamp

I hope we can make this a regular gig.