Friday, April 26, 2013

(Hey Mom, I meant to do this for you after our Skype the other day, but then the mouse on my computer stopped working and rendered my computer unpredictably useless, but I am doing it now, on my birthday, as a gift to you, which makes more sense than giving a gift to me because you did all the work those 30 years ago on that best day of your life.)

We went to Mongolia. We saw. We conquered like Chinggis Khan (you've been saying it wrong, and you didn't even know it!). Actually, mostly Dan did lots of work, and Joash and I hung out with a bounty of fun kids and their bounty of toy vehicles. I will post the pictures quickly before my computer stops working again. A couple days ago the mouse was clicking itself. I think there was a ghost nestled briefly in its microchippery. It seems to have gone on by now.

We were lucky to be close to train tracks, and I mean that because Joash got so super excited every time he heard one announce its arrival. We spent plenty of time looking out this window (and trying to escape apparently).

There were also dogs. Trains and dogs are the stuff of little boy dreams.

And this is the stuff of mine. He is a great expressionist.

And then ready to get down.

Our view most days. The city of Ulaan Baatar is a bleak place.

With tires and skins on the side of the road.

We passed one of these terrifying birds on the way to Turtle Rock.

And, like all good tourists, we paid cash money to take a picture with it. I am freaked out. Joash is wailing. And Dan was shaking his bird arm, per the guide's instruction, which made it flap in frustration.

Dan's Mongolian boss, Nobuo, and his family were with us. His oldest daughter Rebekah is a thousand times braver than me.

Nobuo and his family.

Latent camels waiting for a photo op.

Rural scenes.


Stair climber.

For lunch we visited a camping resort founded by an American. I gleaned from conversation, perhaps errantly, that you can claim a plot of land and build on it to your heart's delight. Here were traditional yurts, this non-traditional yurt, and regular old cabins.

Our destination was turtle rock. It looks like a turtle.

Little horses for the kids to ride. Ruthie and Daniel were brave enough to ride.

Rebekah's bravery needs no reiteration.

Abandoned valley housing project.

It looks less like a turtle up close.

Rock climbers.

All the kids (and Dan) did some exploring.

The sun was warm, but the wind was bitter. Honestly, being in the city you don't think a sky can get so blue, but the Mongolian countryside is somewhat unequaled in its grandeur.

Family in front of turtle rock. I liked the pan out with the tourist signs and the curious dog.

A yurt in the wilderness. They seem so cozy. I have only seen the inside in that Babies documentary.

We made lunch reservations before we went to see the rock. After lunch we played on the playground.

Mountains everywhere.

Dan wanted everyone to see the traffic, but what's missing from this picture of gridlock is the overwhelming and terrifying sensation that you are simultaneously in a game of bumper cars (vehicle component) and frogger (pedestrian component). Joash seemed to enjoy it anyhow.

Back here in Korea we have a full house of people, and it's pretty wonderful. Crystal came last Wednesday. Kenny and Korie came yesterday, and Joash could not be gladder about the company and attention. And we agree.

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