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2008 Mongolia China,  Kyrgyzstan & Kazakhstan
 Tour Group Journal

2008 Mongolia
Thursday Aug. 14, 2008 Ulaan Baator
Day 01 Submitted by Meli  melitour@yahoo.com

As I look out the airplane window during our landing approach I notice that about 50% of the city is made up of Ghers/Yurts; gray uniform circles from above. It seems like the number of gers have been increase  by 3 times more since last year. One expects to see ghers but only out in rural areas, not throughout the capital city of Mongolia. The narrow winding river winding across the edge of town reminds me of the Red River that winds through Central Turkey.  This area reminds me greatly of CO, WY and NM.  Arid grassland; willows along the river.
All the electricity in Mongolia is coal generated.  One such plant sits on the edge of town billowing itís smoke and smog.
Beautiful faces look so similar to  Native American faces that itís eerie.  I can nearly see the march across the Bering Straits to Alaska.
Much poverty and unemployment here.  Hulen , our guide, tells us that high educational levels are required to get any job.  ďIf you donít know your history you are a monkey.Ē

We started our tour with a little meeting at one of the small halls of the hotel. The cool air conditioner was  a great joy. It is unexpectedly hot here. Climate change must have hit Mongolia tour.
There are eight people in the group and my self. I have been looking forward to this tour very much. It already feels like it will be a great tour.
When Deborah and I told the group that we were not given Chinese visa so we will not join them on the tour in China, every one had a smiling face on. I was dreading what the reaction will be like. Now I am relieved.
 
We drive up the hill overlooking this industrial city to a huge concrete monument paying tribute to Soviet help.  It was built in 1971 for the 50th anniversary of independence.
Under this very Soviet looking monument, the piles of shaman ovoo is growing higher and higher .

Great view of this interesting city. Half of the population of Mongolia which is 3 times the size of Texas, is living in Ulaan Baator.

We notice many people enjoying a reprieve from the HEAT in the coolness of the river as we drive back to our hotel.
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