Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mongolia | Fifth of the Nine-Nines | Tavisan Budaa Khöldökhgui

The Fifth of the Nine-Nines—nine periods of nine days each, each period marked by some description of winter weather—begins today, January 27. This is Tavisan Budaa Khöldökhgui, the time when “Cooked Rice Cannot Be Frozen.” I must admit I really don’t understand the definition of this period. It seems to me that cooked rice would be frozen at any temperature below freezing, and we can certainly expect colder temperatures than that during the last week of January and beginning of February. Anyhow, the Fourth of the Nine-Nines was supposed to be coldest of the Nine-Nines, and indeed it has warmed up a little since nine days ago; at 8:30 am it was -23 ° F / -30 ° C. Tsagaan Sar begins in a week, however, and with the new moon we might well have a cold snap. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mongolia | World’s Fourth Coolest Country

Yes, Mongolia is the Fourth Coolest Country In The World, exceeded in the hipness factor only by Jamaica, Singapore (?!?) and Brazil, apparently the coolest place in the world (blame it on the Bossa Nova). 
My pal Enkha, celebrating her coolness on a mountaintop above Lake Khövsgöl
 Enkha: “Hey, I’m Cool!”
What is supposed to be not so cool about Mongolia: “Yak-based dairy products … at every meal,” is surely an exaggeration. Yak-based dairy products are found only in certain areas of Mongolia. Gov-Altai Aimag does boast of vodka made from the milk of yaks, however.
Yak Milk Vodka made in the Town of Biger, in Gov-Altai Aimag. Cool, if you like vodka. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mongolia | Fourth Nine Nine | Dönön Ükhiin Ever Khöldöne | Montblanc Pens

The Fourth of the Nine-Nines, known as Dönön Ükhiin Ever Khöldöne—Time When Four Year-Old Cows’ Horns Freeze—begins today, January 18. This is supposed to be the coldest of the Nine-Nines, nine periods of nine days each, each period marked by some description of winter weather. It was chilly 36 below 0 F. (-38 Cº) at 8:30 am, which is about normal for This Time Of The Year.

Yet another story about luxury goods in Mongolia. The media seems obsessed with this subject. This time it is Montblanc Pens. There is even a religious angle:
In the past, Mongolian families used to hand down highly decorated snuff boxes from father to son. Now this is being replaced by Montblanc pens and watches, Mr Enkhbazar said. “Traditionally when people have a pen, it shows they are highly educated and they are really proud to have these pens,” he added. Pens sell better than watches, partly because the Dalai Lama also uses a Montblanc pen. Most Mongolians are Buddhists, so they want to follow their spiritual leader’s choice of writing instrument.
Of course there is no doubt about the Dalai Lama’s choice of computer:
One More Enlightened Mac User

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mongolia | Third of the Nine Nines | Gurvan Ükhrii Ever Khöldönö

The Third of The Nine-Nines begins on January 9. Gurvan Ükhrii Ever Khöldönö is the nine-day period of Winter when the horns of three year-old cows freeze. This period is supposed to be colder than the First of the Nine Nines and the Second of the Nine Nines. So far this has not been the case. At 8:00 this morning it was 24 below 0º F and 9 below 0º F at noon, warmer than nine days ago, and relatively mild for this time of the year.

Tsagaan Sar, the Mongolian Lunar New Year, is coming up on February 3. We can expect some colder weather before then. The coming year is, of course, the Year of the Iron Rabbit