Monday, August 4, 2008

Building a Yurt

The alphabet of a nomad's home
I end up falling asleep. Dad wakes me up once we arrive at Ayin’s studio, but he’s not there. Since dad is touching my hair, Ayin’s wife thinks that I want to wash it. It was maybe dad’s idea, but not mine. I go into a small room, she gives me shampoo and pours hot water in the sink and I wash my hair, it feels great. Then I go back downstairs. With dad, we go have a look at the shops close by. We come across a kind of department store, like BHV in Paris, with lots of things for everyday life. Then there’s a kind of rummage store that sell everything and anything, and also an ice cream shop. We buy some and really treat ourselves. Coming back, a man dressed in green with long hair and slit eyes holds out his arms and takes us by the shoulders, it’s Ayin. He’s happy to see us. With the woman who speaks a little English, we go around to the hotels. Dad finds that the first one is not that great. So, we go to a second where there’s no electricity and a third where there’s the same problem. In the end, we go back to the first one that turns out to be the best of the three and take a room for two. We go up to the room and we end up literally in a two-room apartment, with a bathroom and toilet, and actually it’s great. Since we have a few things to do, dad asks Ayin to spare an hour before going to eat. We put away our luggage as best as we can. That’s something mom always does when we’re traveling. She unpacks everything and organizes so that it feels like home. Then, we plug everything that needs to be charged. An hour later, we go to the lobby to meet Ayin and a man who will be our interpreter since the woman has to return home to Beijing. Since the light is good, dad asks Ayin to go towards yurts in order to film them and take photos. He accepts and takes us 5 kilometers outside the city to a family. Their yurt collapsed after a storm and they are rebuilding it. They have kind of a wooden wall with large pieces of wood that connect to a small circle on top of which they will put a roof made of goat or sheep wool. Behind them, there’s a woman sewing a cloth that was torn during the storm. A half hour later, the daughter and the wife of one of the men who lives in this yurt come. When the yurt is done being assembled, they need to see how to place it so two men lift it while the others tell them which way to turn. Dad is happy with the pictures he took. When the light changes, dad says goodbye and goes back to the car.

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