A Family Excursion and Mongolian Billiards
I’ve been back from “mid-center days” for about a week now, but because of the Naadam holiday (summer sports festival), most of our town amenities have been closed. I’m only now getting the chance to slip into the internet café, update the blog, and get to some emails that have been piling up—my apologies.
I took a trip out to the countryside with my host-family this past weekend. It was my host-mother’s sister’s birthday, and their family came into town to spend a day out on the river nearby. Grandma and Grandpa came too. A fair amount of vodka was consumed and a little swimming was done here and there. I got a nice bath in the river, but not without being chilled to the bone. Here’s a few photos from our day out so you can get a sense of what my host-family here is like: young at heart, lots of fun, and generally a very happy bunch.
The last few photos are of my host-brother and I playing pool the Mongolian way. That really is a complete pool table sitting out in the open in somebody’s yard. Billiards is apparently an outdoor sport here. I’d seen this phenomenon before while driving through Ulaanbaataar. Our route into the city goes right by a popular pool spot with a few tables just set up along the sidewalk. It’s a jarring sight to see a game usually set in a smoky and dimly lit bar being played underneath the Mongolian “eternal blue sky.” Not sure what they do when it rains, but I’m beginning to think it’s a game that belongs outside—have I gone native?
All my best,