A Travellerspoint blog

UB summary and surprises

The following day is no more than back-to-Ulan event with some shopping of cashmere attached augmenting the sublime experience of Ulan’s ever-present traffic jam. The city has some Buddhist monasteries and related royal properties that albeit tiny compared to the sea of modern construction give some historical volume to this otherwise flat, architecturally speaking, town. The central square is immense but not alone in the chase of grandeur amongst its neighbours in Central Asia. It is surrounded by important government and business buildings including the parliament, the stock exchange, the Philharmonic/Modern Art gallery, the opera, swanky business center and so on.
Dutifully impressive on a regular day, the square adds the dimension of a theatrical scene on once-in-a-lifetime occasion such as President Putin’s visit during the 80th anniversary of the joint Russian-Mongolian victory over the Japanese Army at Khalkhin Gol. It is most interesting to watch the procedures employed by the security services and the protocol department while well-wishers gather to witness the unique event. Some of the older folks are dressed in traditional outfits presenting perfect opportunity for otherwise hard-to-get photos of cultural elements nowadays present mostly in museums.
Just block or two off the main thoroughfare of the city there are the apartment buildings for the regular folks which might have been conceived with the best of intentions but poor maintenance and attitude plus some money problems have reduced them to less-palatable dwellings. Since this is the real Mongolian city life the visitor might consider experiencing it. One establishment, H7 hostel, provides such opportunity. It occupies a regular two bedroom apartment on a high floor which is capable of hosting up to four people who would have kitchen and bathroom privileges.
Flying around the world approximately along the 45th parallel via Central Asia on a Star Alliance combo is very exciting adventure especially at the moment (year 2019) when the push for reinvention of the old Silk Road gathers speed. Paying 150USD for it is just a small part of making it worthwhile.

Posted by assenczo 15:19

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