Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Preparations for the departure to Irkutsk
Quiet last hours in Ulan Bator
Walking toward the taxis, we come across a short man wearing a beret who speaks French to us. He works on the black market in the station by exchanging currencies for travelers. For the moment, we don’t have any money to change, so we thank him and keep on looking for a taxi. Finally, we find one that will gladly take us to the hotel for a reasonable price. We arrive at the hotel and finish putting away the last things before check out, especially putting aside all the books we received during the trip, small objects that we don’t use and also clothes that we’ll send by post, which isn’t far from the hotel. When I finish doing that, I start to write and watch TV5 Monde while waiting for dad. It’s funny because they’re only showing shows on food. We do the check out and ask if we can leave the luggage and pick it up after lunch. They say there’s no problem, we thank them and go. We take the 12 kilos of bags that we have to send by post and we cross the large square to finally arrive at the post office. It’s 12:55pm when we arrive in front of the booth and we ask for three large boxes to put everything in. When the package is done, we go to the shipping office that is supposed to close between 1 and 2 pm but stays open to help us. We take some tape and wrap it around the parcels and write the postal addresses where it has to be sent. We give the parcels to the man who tapes them even more. They’ll arrive in Paris in 2 or 3 weeks. We pay the man and leave to go have some lunch. Since a lot of people recommended the restaurant Bayangol, dad proposes that we go there and I accept. We walk a little before ending up in front of a statue of a horseman that towers over the Bayangol hotel with its height. We move forward and wind up facing a closed door and we find it weird that it’s the entrance of the city’s grand restaurant. We see a man gesturing to us that the entrance is a little further down. We can’t see through the widow what’s going on inside and I get the impression that there is no one but going in, I see that it’s nearly full. We take the menu, order two typical Mongolian dishes and wait. An Italian family comes and sits it front of me and one of the boys who looked about 17 tells his mother something typically Italian that I love which is: “Eh mama” and since his mother doesn’t answer he says at a phenomenal speed: “Eh mama mama mama” until she answers. That’s when our food arrives. It’s a soup with raviolis cooked in water for me and dad ordered a dish that reminds him of the main dish mom used to make him and resembles Iranian Ab Gousht, which is a mixture of mutton and vegetables in which one adds pieces of bread, soaked in a warm and tasty broth. I begin mine and dad his. I really like it and eventually we exchange food and I finish his and he finishes mine. During the entire meal I listen to these Italians that have a very strange accent. To finish the meal, we order ice cream that we share.