02 Aug - 11 Aug 2012 Ulaanbaatar

East Asia
Circus District
Block 30, House 2, Ap. 17
Bold’s Apartments +97691816465
Adequate twin room with self-catering kitchen in a private apartment for US$ 15.- per night.

Click below for an interactive road map of Bold's Apartments in Ulaanbaatar and for directions:

Exploring Ulaanbaatar’s compact city centre, one of the most dirty and drab looking downtowns on the face of the planet, which consists mainly of pot-holed streets beyond repair, derelict buildings from the country’s sad communist past and a large number of Wild-East capitalist ramshackle huts harbouring (i) shady up-start banks for opportunistic Mongolians, (ii) overpriced restaurants for carnivorous Westerners and (iii) sleazy beauty salons/spas for both.
"...with the old communism, (i) property was theft, (ii) capitalists were thuggish villains, (iii) party workers ruled, (iv) the poor in the West were oppressed and (v) happiness was in the future. With the new capitalism, (i) property is sacred, (ii) governments are bad and unions evil, (iii) capitalists are brave heroes, (iv) the poor in the West are pampered good-for-nothings and (v) happiness is 'here and now' if you have sharp enough elbows." 

Konni: Falling prey (and being relieved of my biometric 1984-model German passport) to one of the teams of professional pick pockets and bag snatchers who operate along Peace Avenue aka Enkh Taivny Örgön Chölöö, mostly between the Central Palace of Culture of the Mongolian Trade Unions in the west and Suhbaatar Square in the east, and still having many wonderful encounters with honest and hospitable Mongolians, probably the offspring of Chinggis Khaan who united the warring tribes under the Great Mongol Empire in 1206 CE.

Konni: Purchasing a new, non-biometric passport for MNT 105,000.- or US$ 78.- from the German Embassy +97611323325 in Ulaanbaatar (many thanks, Herr Konsul, for your friendly and efficient service) and a new 30-day tourist visa for Red China for US$ 30.- from the co-operative Chinese Embassy +97611320955 in Ulaanbaatar and meeting Charlie, the Man with Hundreds of Unwashed Faces, a remarkable and inspiring young explorer, adventurer, walker, cyclist and horseman from the UK who is travelling from Europe's most northerly point, the Nordkapp in Norway, via the most southerly point of Asia's mainland, Singapore, all the way to Cape Town, the Mother City of South Africa.

Discovering the most delicious and distinctive Central Asian food and beverages in the huge supermarket of the State Department Store (e.g. fresh rye bread and airag [an alcoholic summer seasonal drink made from fermented mare's milk], Russian black zarski kaviar [MNT 3,500.- or US$ 2.60 for a 150-g glass] and Mongolian smoked cheese, thick yoghurt and camel milk, Russian champagne and Mongolian vodka [but not getting hammered and sickled]), altogether the most welcomed change from our usual Southeast Asian staples of nasi and mee.

Admiring the elaborate collections of (i) fine 19th-century silk embroideries, (ii) colourful thangka paintings and (iii) Buddhist bronze, wood and paper mache statuettes in the 19th-century CE  Bogd Khan Palace aka The Green Palace (admission: MNT 2,500.- or US$ 1.85 per person), info@bogdkhaanpalace.org, and learning about Bogd Khaan, the last king/khaan of Mongolia, who ruled his country as a constitutional monarch until his death in 1924 CE.

Whispering secret prayers at the “wish tree” inside the Tibetan-style Gandan Khiid Monastery aka Gandan-tegchinlen Khiid aka Great Place of Complete Joy +97611360023, one of the few Buddhist monasteries in the country that escaped the communist purges during the 1930s and which houses currently over 300 active monks.

"Money it's a hit.
Don't give me that do goody good bullshit."

Click below for more blog posts about picturesque wonga
29 May 2014 Toronto: Canadian Dollars

Click below for a summary of this year's travels 

Recommended books – click below for your Amazon order from the United Kingdom:

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For Amazon bargains from Canada, please click here