Thursday, August 18, 2011

Visiting the Black Market Stalls

Blog for August  16, 2011
Morning came early but I dragged it out to 7 am before getting up.
The nights are very cold probably low 40F and I wish I had my winter pajamas.  It is a bearable temperature since I wrap myself up in the comforter but then toss and turn during the night unwrapping myself.
The ger I am in has the ability to fire up the wood stove but the chimney has to be set in place and firewood gathered. Perhaps I will do that tonight. I know that heating the ger makes it very comfortable and takes the dampness out of the air.
There are about a dozen gers here with tourists and they are all doing just fine. I just have to toughen up to this climate of warm days and cold nights.
Today we commence our 2nd day of work at BEH credit union. `
We again met with Dash, the Manager, Gambold, the Accountant & Loans Officer and Solungut, the cashier. All the employees seem to be able to do each other’s job and answer most any question competently. As we gathered for our information meeting in the one room office of the credit union, several members came in and some joined our discussions particularly Board members and Committee members.
From a work perspective, the day was very rewarding as we accomplished much. It is clearly apparent that there are some “strange rules and ratios” that we do not comprehend the need or value for. Perhaps it is because they are new in their development of the credit union system and being very cautious. We will arrive at conclusions and recommendations over the next two days.
During our lunch break, Gambold took us to the black market where I bought several meters of silk at a great price. I took this to a seamstress who is making me a traditional dale to wear at home. We visited several merchants and saw how they make their wares and the marketing they do.
At the end of the day, we visited a monument on the top of one of the mountains that overlooks the town. It is a tribute to Mongolian history of its empire over 1400 years from the sixth century to now. Three huge mosaic panels displayed maps of Asia and Europe showing the vast expanse achieved by Genghis Kahn as the most accomplished empire builder and another panel showed a lesser expanse with the third panel showing this century and how Mongolia shrank from greatness.
The sights from this mountain top were spectacular and there were several merchants selling their wares. Of course I am now many tugriks lighter but the gifts will provide long lasting memories.
We returned to our ger camp for dinner and then a relaxing night.

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