Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Far from the city's madness
It’s 4:30am when my alarm clock rings. I hurry to be ready by 5:00. We go down to meet Ayin, but he’s not there and we wait for him. He arrives a half hour later and we jump in his 4x4. We head for a yurt encampment outside the city. Once there, we see that everyone is sleeping except for two horses that are having fun and dancing under the rising sun. We get nearer to photograph them. Getting closer to them, between two yurts, we see a mountain of hundreds of bottles of Mongolian vodka; it was funny. After, when dad thinks he’s finished photographing the horses, we go back in the car with Ayin. He takes us near a temple where dozens of men and women are doing Tai Chi movements together and at the same time. I film and photograph them. When they are finished their exercises, dad asks the grand master to show him some movements because he loves Tai Chi. I watch him and figure that he’s as good as I am at Kung-fu; knowing that I’m bad at it. Then, we thank the teacher and go to the temple. We enter and observe. We enter the main room where the head monk greets us. We go around this room. A woman is painting the temple’s walls. Dad photographs her and I observe. We keep going around until we arrive in front of a statue of Buddha and there, the monk invites me to pray, so I kneel, join my hands together and move my head up and down. Meanwhile, the monk says very quickly prayers in Mongolian and I listen. When he’s finished, I thank him and say goodbye. We go down the temple’s stairs to get to the car. Since I’m hungry, I ask dad if we can go eat. We arrive in a small restaurant and I order two flatbreads and drink four cups of tea. Before leaving, the group behind us asks me if they can take my picture and I gladly accept. And I usually hate being photographed. I’m surprised at myself. When they are finished, I say goodbye and head towards the car. Before leaving the city, we go by Ayin’s studio. We find his wife, daughter and his wife’s mother. In his studio, there are two floors: the first is for when people want to come and choose their photo and clothes or to buy photographic material. On the second floor, there’s a reproduction of the interior of a yurt for souvenir photos. When I am done visiting, I greet Ayin’s wife and daughter and we get in the car. Since Ayin has a problem with the water in his car, we stop by a garage man. I get out of the car and take dad’s phone to call Unicef in Ulan Bator to speak to a man named Bertrand des Moulins, who is a contact given to me by my godmother Sophie. Unfortunately, he’s on vacation until the end of September so we won’t be able to meet him when we’ll be in Ulan Bator. After, I go in the garage and there, in a small room what do I find: an Internet connection. It’s pure happiness and I look at my emails. A few minutes later, when Ayin fixed the problem, we have to go so I turn off the Internet and thank the garage man. I run to join dad in the car.