Sunday, November 30, 2003

Altai Mountains in Bayan-Olgii Aimag
Speaking of glaciers (see post below), here's a photo I took several years ago of the Potanin Glacier in the Tavan Bogd (Five Gods) Mountains region of Bayan-Olgii Aimag, the western-most province of Mongolia:

The belief held by many people in the Mongolian countryside that shooting stars make sounds has apparently been confirmed by scientists. See Meteors Go Pop In The Night.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

For an Iraqi view of Bush's visit see Girl Blog.
Saddam Hussein famously referred to Americans as the "New Mongols" and implied that George Bush was a reincarnation of Hulegu, Chingis Khan's grandson who sacked Baghdad in 1258. Now the man-in-the-street in Iraq seems to have picked up on this idea. Here's a comment from a story in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) about Bush's daredevil Thanksgiving Day visit to Baghdad: "Some Iraqis were unimpressed. 'To hell with Bush,' said Mohammed al-Jubouri. "He is another Mongol in a line of invaders who have destroyed Iraq." This guy better read And Will Chinggisism Flourish, the newly released book by Mongolian scholar Balin Bat-Ochir, which includes a chapter entitled "Chinggisism Is The Ideology Of Taming The Terrorists." "Chinggis" ("or Chingis") is, by the way, the Mongolian spelling of "Genghis".

Thursday, November 27, 2003

People, it’s getting serious. Just when you thought the sun was getting back to its regular rhythms after the recent burst of sunspot activity, the beloved center of our solar system is acting up again. This photos shows the latest series of sunspots taken through four different filters. What exactly does this portend? Anyone out there like to prognosticate?

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Monday, November 24, 2003

"A bowl of tea, a plate of sheep ribs, and thou . . . (to paraphrase Omar Khayyam)."

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Ninety-two year-old Lama Gombo isn't fazed by the cold.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Meanwhile, it's still winter in Ulaan Baatar. Here's Oyuna bundled up against the cold.

Lovely Rahila (May you always be Blessed!) from Urumqi in Xinjiang

Famous temple complex of Bezeklik, near Turfan

Young Uighur Girl

Maybe it was the cold weather here that got me thinking about Turfan, in Xinjiang Province, China. This is probably one of the hottest places on earth. I visited here three years ago. The city itself is several hundred feet below sea level. Even in May, when I was there, the temperature in the afternoons was over 100 degrees F. No one goes outside in the afternoons, as can be seen from the photo of the city’s main street. In the evenings, after the sun goes down, thousands of people promenade on this street, which is lined with restaurants, cafes, and night clubs featured discalced, bathukolpic dancing girls. The majority of people here are Uighurs, not Chinese.

The Mosque in Turfan

The main street of Turfan: grape arbors provide some shade.
Winter has arrived in Ulaan Baatar:

Monday, November 17, 2003

People, get ready: the Leonid Meteor Shower is fast approaching . . .
100,000 Deaths Expected in An Imminent Attack Against the U.S. What are we to make of this? Rumor-mongering or legitimate warning?
Camels Compete In Beauty Contest: Here's my entry; the trusty white camel which carried me 167 miles through the Gobi Desert. (Note about linked story: the sub-headline refers to a "dromedary," which is the one-humped camel found in the Mid-East, although the story is about a camel beauty contest which took place in China. The text of the story correctly refers to Bactrian, or two-humped camels, such as are found in China and Mongolia. Also the stock-photo which accompanies the story incorrectly shows dromedaries.

Camels . . . you can't help but love'em.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

OK, you people, you have been hounding me about what time the sun comes up, what time it goes down, and so on and so on. Contrary to what you apparently believe, Mongolia not near the Arctic Circle and we are not about to plunge into six months of darkness. Here's the current data:

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Cafe Blog in Tehran: for a blog from Iran see Persian Blog

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Sitasamvara statue by Zanabazar, First Bogd Gegen of Mongolia. For more see Zanabazar's Art Works.
Ulaan Baatar may be one of the few cities where "Smoke" is a common weather condition. The smoke comes not only from the big coal-fueled power plants but also from the thousands of gers - the round tents many Mongolians live in - each of which has its own stove burning wood or coal.

Today's Weather

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Our merry little band at the Ja Lama Ovoo on the outskirts of Ekhin Gol Oasis. For more photos see The Gobi Desert

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

If you are looking for the perfect meal to break the Ramadan fast see Is Something Burning?!, a sister-blog of The Virtual Sheik.