Monday, 13 April 2015

Mongolia: Mongolian taxis and Mongolian food

Tsuivn - Khorum Restaurant, Kempinski Hotel, Ulaanbaatar
On the first day of appointments and visits, I suggested to my interpreter that we should take a taxi to the first meeting. He immediately stepped to the curb and flagged down a car, opened the rear door and stated the destination. The translator’s response to my obvious question was, ‘all cars are taxis’. Fair enough.

We used the same strategy for the next appointment. Having spent a few years driving in the Middle East, I thought I understood a relaxed respect for the rules of the road, but this woman had balls. In order to avoid the queues, she drove on the wrong side of the road, regardless of on-coming traffic, and then cut into the line of cars at each junction. Discussion with any drivers questioning her tactics was met with mild contempt for her male combatants. Traffic light conventions were occasionally observed.

In the evening I asked the staff in the hotel’s Khorum Restaurant for advice on local dishes. My first foray into Mongolian cuisine featured a mountain of thick noodles, beef and cabbage known as ‘Tsuivn’ (pronounced ‘tur-van’). I may have the appetite of a pit pony, but even I struggled. Clearly, nobody goes hungry in Mongolia. 

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