Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Far from the city

Gengis Khan’s epic

When Dad comes back, it’s 12:00pm and we have to leave to take a bus that will bring us 50 kilometers from Ulan Bator to see a reproduction of Gengis Khan’s cavalry. I finish my text and we go. When we arrive in front of the place where we are supposed to catch our bus, I see that we’re early and ask dad if we could eat something quickly. I take a pizza to remind myself of Western fashion. Then it’s time to leave so I settle down in the bus where I begin to talk with an English man. Eventually, I join dad and talk to him for…1 hour, poor man! We finally arrive. We get our tickets checked and we go into an alley where there’s a series of souvenir merchants. At the opposite end of the alley, chairs are put in a circle so that we can watch a match of traditional wrestling. The wrestlers are dressed in T-shirts that are too small for them and a pair of trousers. Before beginning a combat, they slap each other on the legs and remove their T-shirts. They begin the combats and at the end, it’s a strong man who is a little round that wins everything. At the end of the wrestling we have a half hour to try the archery. I try but miss. Then dad tries and he misses; but proud as he is, he tells me: “You know I could have done better.” The wrestler who won everything comes, tries and succeeds; he’s good at everything! After, it’s time to go watch the cavalry show. They show us a central stage and we head towards it. We wait a few minutes before hundreds of horses arrive at the same time and place themselves after a race around the others in four different groups, singing praises of Gengis Khan who is supposed to be in the yurt protected by these four groups of horses. After, a man who I thought was supposed to be Gengis Khan, but who actually is a sort of army chief arrives, receives offerings and stands in front of shamanist monks praying for success in combat. At the end of the prayer, a knight announces to the army chief that his enemies want to attack; so the latter reunites the entire army and there begins a real representation of a war in the days of Gengis Khan. It was spectacular. Their war system was based on a technique of circling and suffocating the adversary in order to have his skin. When victory is acquired, the most beautiful girl of the opposing kingdom is given to Gengis Khan who comes out for the first time since the beginning of the show. He greets his concubine and goes for a ride in front of the stage with his horse. When the show is over, the Japanese that came only to see Gengis Khan and his cavalry leave and we stay with a few Mongolians to watch the dance show. It’s a mix of music and acrobatics that is boring but I stay nevertheless awake. During the show a little girl comes and sits in the chair next to mine. I see her fall over. In a swift movement I catch her, she was lucky. During the entire show, I only watch what she’s doing and I get more and more bored. When the show is over, we head towards the bus to go back. I notice the two acrobats and I find them quite pretty.

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