Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Today is the last day of Naadam. The races are over, the wrestling champion was crowned last night and the archers have put their bows down. Today is celebration, and on the square, it was National Dress Day. There are many cultural groups and ethnic minorities in Mongolia, and the dress is diverse and beautiful. It is also my last day in Mongolia. I leave for the airport in a few hours. So, this is the very last post. THE END.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Welcome to the Naadam horse races. I left home at 6am to catch the bus to the site. Here, Oyunsuren, Munkhshur and I are ready to work at Culture Nadaam.

Families from all over Mongolia come to UB for the races. They erect their gers and ready for the race.

There were three races this day, each for a different age horse. All riders are children, 3 - 11 years old! The races were between 22 and 35 KM.

First place winner in the first race.

The site was full of people, horses, kites in the sky and lots of khushuur and airag!

Culture Naadam is a wonderful addition to the races. We had traditional music, modern dance, and other performances. People could try archery, felt making, calligraphy, folklore and traditional art. An art installation of pinwheels was also there. A good time was had by all.....got home around 9pm....

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Surprises and adventures keep coming. On Friday, Magcar arranged for a car and driver and took Odgerel and me to the site of the Naadam horse racing. People were arriving and setting up their gers. The finish line was already there. We drove around looking for horses and happened upon a family who were going to race five horses, several of whom were already race winners. They also had several babies, and the mares were milked every two hours in order to get the mild for airag. They offered us airag and soup and showed us around.

They used to have 200 horses, but most were wiped out in the deadly winter of 2010. One of the race horses is half English, and he did perk up when I asked him, in English, to pose nicely for me!

Then, on Saturday, my friend Hishge called and invited me to a concert. The main attraction was a performance by 1,024 children, all playing the horse-head fiddle (morin khuur). Amazing! This was followed by many acts - singers: individuals, groups (both small and large), modern, traditional, throat, and dancers, and contortionists. All the performers were from the Zavhan Aimag - and the whole aimag must have been there. The children performed on the Square, and will perform once more at the opening ceremonies of Naadam on Monday morning.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Just another amazing Monday! I began the day with a meeting with the President of the University in his spacious office. Then, I headed to the Black Market with my friend, Amaraa.

Wooden saddles, some unadorned and some decorated. The furniture for gers. Lots of silk material.

Leather boots are works of art.