Been a while

Sorry about that, but things have just been crazy here. Work’s been busy during the week and I spent basically the whole weekend out at various places.

Thursday night (not part of the weekend, I am aware) was Lisa Fink’s poetry reading. She’s a Fulbright Scholar who’s been here translating Mongolian poetry and working with great Mongolian poets. The event was held at the Union of Mongolian Artists gallery, which is a place I’m always happy to have an excuse to go to. First, three great Mongolian poets she’s worked with over the year read out some of their poems and she read her English translations, then she read some of her poems and one of the Mongolian poets, Degi, who also translates, read her Mongolian translation of it. It was a great event and really interesting poetry, which I’ll have to remember to get books of. Lisa is great and has a far more enlightening blog than me.

Friday was Amy’s birthday and we all had a lovely dinner out, then headed back to their place for a rowdy night of drinking, dancing, spanking and breaking things (I was not party to all of these events). It was just like the old days when we first arrived in winter, with the crazy house parties (there’s little else to do in winter).

Saturday and Sunday I was also out a lot. Monday night, Sunaree, Kip, Annie (with a far more amusing blog)and I went to huge hiphop concert. It was most awesome. One act was a group of about 10 guys in black going mental, one song sampling Eye of the Tiger. In one they also shouted “tiimuu” a lot. Another was who I’ve dubbed the Mongolian Kanye, who did a pretty cool song, then rapped to a country/western song. At one point a couple of kids came out and rapped, one of whom had more stage presence than most of the other performers. He did a few songs with older guys and blew them away too. Oh, and how could I forget the dancing girls who came on with one act wearing white fluffy undies that looked a bit like nappies. Classic night.

More pictures and a story from the Gobi

So, I mentioned Dave’s photos, which are cooler than mine, and you can check them out here:

There are some great ones of us jumping and doing stupid things off the top of a huge sand dune. Funny story from that actually. In the morning, most of us went to climb this giant sand dune, which is apparently 700m tall. Damn hard work, as it was steep and soft sand. After we made it to the top and caught our breath, Dave and I filmed a quick piece for VoiceBox, set the camera down and went to play. We found a nice point to jump off, the switched between doing crazy jumps and photographing the other. We got very sandy and dirty, then headed down, running in giant leaps and rolling.

By the time we got back to camp, we were exhausted and dehydrated. The first thing we were handed? Vodka. My response? “Just give me 5 minutes, I need water first.”

The second thing we were handed? Home-brew camel vodka. Distilled from fermented camel’s milk. The cup was large and I drank as much as I could handle, then passed it back. It was surprisingly smooth, but the strong and distincly animaly aftertaste was less than pleasant.

After that, we had khorkhokh (I’m guessing at the spelling here), which is most of a goat or sheep (with some onions, potatoes and carrots), chopped into large chunks then pressure cooked in a big metal container with hot rocks.  Good fun to watch and make with very tasty results.

Hopefully I’ll remember more stories later (there’s one about disco gobi camping and a road story), but for now, I’ll leave you with some new ones from the sketchbook.

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Yes, back from the amazing Gobi tour ’07. Thanks so much to Sara, Batbold, Eegi, Urunga and everyone involved.  It really was fantastic. I’ll elaborate with stories later, but for now just head to my flickr and check out the photos. Some have descriptions, which will explain parts of it.

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Starting to get back into work now after 10 days in the countryside, a recovery weekend which included writing a job application, and my birthday yesterday. I had a great day and thanks to all for their messages. Thanks most of all to Sunaree for making it really special.

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I’m heading back to Melbourne in just over a month now and there’s a lot to finish up. I’m thinking about my options and things are starting to come together finally.

There were a lot of great thing about the trip, but one of the more unexpected ones was that it gave me a lot of time to think. A lot creative ideas that had been stagnating grew and took form, which I hope to bang out on the computer soon and start working on more seriously. It was lovely kick in the pants.

In time, I plan to turn this into more of a portfolio site and make the art and sketches more accessible.

Much more soon…