First impressions

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Although it can get as cold as -60 celcius in Mongolia, we only had a mild -6 on arrival. By the time we were driving away from the airport, the sun had already come through the clouds and temperature had gone above zero.

Surprisingly, many good restaurants seem to exist in town. It’s hard to believe these only live from expat money since, according to Hulan, there are at most 1000 expats in Ulaan Baator.
Driving around town, we were shown some of the important buildings in the center, ranging from the Russian embassy to the state circus.
We noticed several people wearing mouthcaps, including some personell at the airport. But when I asked Hulan about the country its stance towards SARS, she said that it wasn’t an issue at all at the moment.
Still, here people were actually wearing the masks. At Schiphol airport, we had seen large metal containers, ‘SARS kits’, near the doctor’s office, but nobody was wearing mouthcaps in Holland.

The city itself looks rather nice. It’s clear the town is relatively new and was mainly build by soviet architects. The wide boulevards and the social realist buildings reminded me of cities like Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg in Russia. The city has many statues and monuments but was is most striking is that the city is surrounded on all sides by snow covered mountains.

As far as the people are concerned, I’m not really sure what makes people particularly Mongolian. If anything, people seem to be a mixture of Japanese, Chinese and Korean. Then again, exactly that combination may be unique to Mongolia.

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