Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mongolia | Zaisan | Gaga Invasion

Yesterday was Children’s Day in Mongolia. I went downtown to get my mail (the kind lady at my branch post office now sends me a text message when I get mail) and noticed block parties for children, complete with balloons and loud music, everywhere. Then I returned to Zaisan. It turns out the apartment complex next to my hovel was having a big party in its courtyard, complete with hundreds, maybe thousands, of balloons (what’s with the balloon thing?), clowns in uniform, and a sound system that boomed music loud enough to be heard a half mile away. The music was—you know it’s coming—Lady Gaga’s latest album “Born This Way”.

It was on endless loop and played for at least three hours. Perhaps nine out of ten people listening do not understand English and thus do not know what she is singing about, but who cares? It is just a wall of sound. Now I am as big a Lady Gaga Fan as the next guy, but this was just too much. I tried to settle down with the book I had just received in the mail, A Story Waiting to Pierce You: Mongolia, Tibet and the Destiny of the Western World, but it was a bit hard to concentrate with Lady Gaga music playing loud enough to rattle the windows of my hovel. 
Lady Gaga has invaded Zaisan. There is no escape. Now we are all just vassals in Lady Gaga’s world. 
 Zaisan goes Gaga


  1. Hi Dan, let us know what you think about the book. It seems intriging. By coincidence I have been reading the rather good wikipedia entry about Greco buddhism:
    Being lead there while researching some info about the Tocharians...I am reading the Malory and Mair's book about the Tarim Mummies.

  2. I am still reeling from the Gaga Invasion and have not yet finished the book. From what I have read it might be called speculative history. You can get an idea by reading the reviews on Amazon. Greco-Buddhism is indeed interesting; see Indian Art Museum in Berlin. I have the Malory and Mair book about the Tarim Mummies, and also The Mummies of Urumchi, by Barbar. These books are of particular interest to me, since I have a startling resemblance to one of the most famous Tarim mummies, the Cherchen Man (he is six feet, six inches tall, 1.98 meters, just slightly shorter than myself). When I was in the museum in Urumqi a Japanese tour group freaked out when they saw me standing beside the mummy. At the time I had a beard just like the mummy’s and was carrying a shoulder bag the same color as the mummy’s coat. They all started taking photos of me and the mummy, apparently thinking I was the mummy’s twin come to life, and security guards had to be called in.