August 16, 2014
I’m leaving on a jet plane, or something like that.
Philadelphia International Airport
Philadelphia to Detroit, Detroit to Beijing, Beijing to Ulaanbaatar, between all of the driving, flying, and layovers I was traveling for 44 hours straight. My first flight of the day wasn't bad despite being stuck in the middle seat between two very large individuals, as I slept almost the entire time. I was out before takeoff and woke up during the landing. Detroit Airport was nice for all of the 90 minutes I was in it. There was a nice little restaurant right outside the gate with a decent chicken Caesar wrap even if the service was rather poor.
Detroit to Beijing was the long haul of the trip, and I managed to snag a bulkhead seat with a little more leg room, even if I was stuck in the middle seat again. At least this time they were tiny people so it wasn’t too bad. I was marathoning Victorian Romance Emma Season two when my laptop battery finally decided to crap out, but at least it was after the marriage proposal so I was able to live with that. Shut up I happen to like some romance stuff on occasion. The only other memorable aspect of the flight was getting a look at the Polar Regions.
Beijing ugh….. If you ever have the choice of flying through Beijing or flying through anywhere else, for the love of money take the someplace else. The airport is a disaster for international transfers. You land and follow the signs and international transfer sign points to a wall. There is no sign in the baggage claim for international transfers or to leave your luggage on the carousel, so it can be more than a little confusing. My thanks to the Delta employee who told me what to do, and where to go. Now I have to leave the terminal and take a bus to another terminal 20 minutes away. Oh and don’t forget the two security check points and the trouble of getting a visitor’s visa. Now terminal 3 is a crowded mess of people, and you can only check in 2 hours before your flight so you are stuck wandering around the crowded terminal. The only bright spot is the Pizza hut which for some reason is fine dining in China. Now the security there was not the probulator I was expecting.
However they are obsessed with batteries for some reason and did not know what to make of my portable printer. Anyway, I finally made it onto my Mongolian Airlines flight.
The Eagle has landed or something like that
Chinggis Khaan International Airport and it looks a lot different at night when the only thing visible in a sea of darkness is the airport lights and the road leading to the airport.
One more short ride on some bumpy roads and I made it to my apartment in Ulaanbaater in the middle of the night, 44 hours after I left. Not exactly a pleasure cruise but you have to do, what you have to do sometimes.
My new Home sweet home
I know it’s small, but it gets the job done. The two burner range and oven works. However I can’t use the oven and stove top at the same time. The fridge is a bit smaller, but that just means I’ll have to go shopping a little bit more often. Ok, a lot more considering I took advantage of all of the restaurants in Red Bank, NJ. Lastly my fridge needs a little more love and magnets, my anime pictures need some more friends.
Yes mom, I know it’s a mess, but I’m still a little jet lagged. I do like the deep window sill, giving me some extra storage space.
It’s small but so was the bathroom in my NJ apartment, and this one is actually nicer.
A little small but I have a nice sized closet and a queen sized bed. My Charlotte figurine could use a friend though, but sadly there were no Infinite Stratos figurines to find at Otokan.
For starters, woohoo I have cable again even if it is Mongolian cable. I do get a decent number of English channels though. Universal (it appears to be a combination of USA, and TNT), SyFy, HBO, TCM, BBC news, CNN, NGC, Travel, True TV, E, Eurosport, MTV, Cartoon Network, Austrailian TV, and Toonami. Now those are just the ones I’ve looked at so there might be one or two more. The internet has been good so far. The only problem was burning out my converter this morning, but I got things working again.
Shopping for food in Mongolia
There will be many more posts on this I’m sure. I have made my first forays into the Mongolian supermarkets and they were interesting. First off they have a variety of western products like cereals, soups, chips, and other things. I just need to keep an eye on the prices as some of them can be expensive. The produce offerings were a little scant at first, but as I soon discovered it just matters where you go. Good price, is about 10-15min walking distance from the school with high but decent prices. The selection is also pretty good and it has the best selection of western items that I’ve seen so far. It’s still a little tricky as what we American’s would think of as milk jugs actually contain yogurt. I did find the milk, and learned that cyy means milk and tapat means yogurt. The next store was called mercury and this is where the best produce and meat can be found. I can say that John would love the meat market in Mercury. (Not for the weak stomach)
Yes that is actually a pigs head for sale and you can get a sheep’s head if you want as well. I got 2 kilo’s of chicken for 15,000 turgig, which amounts to 4.4 pounds of chicken breast for around 8 dollars. There was also a large selection of produce which I didn't expect to find and walked away with some mushrooms and peppers. I haven’t gone for the fruit yet, but we did pass several street vendors.
Cooking and tasting Mongolian food
It’s only been two days so don’t expect much but here is what I have found so far.
Milk- It’s 3.6% so nearly the same as whole milk, but it has a weird after taste I can only describe as gamey. I think it might have something to do with the cows eating more grass, and being allowed to roam around more. I know cyy means cow’s milk, but I still don’t know what UHT means.
Bread- No difference as far as I can tell, but it does not contain the preservatives found in non-bakery bread in the states and the loaves are smaller.
Peanut butter- Yes, for the love of everything yes. I have peanut butter, I won’t starve.
I think its salami or some kind of lunch meat.
Mustard- the universal condiment
I’ll get back to you guys with more about the Mongolian food once I've gotten to try some more of it and hit up some of the restaurants here in UB. I may update tomorrow with some of the local sites if I get the time.