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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

This blog is a record of events in the life of Joseph Taggart and his family since his spinal cord injury while body surfing in Guatemala in January 2006.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Update From Mongolia II: City, and Country

Update From Mongolia Part 2: While Joseph and Matt are in Qingdao and Gloria is taking care of Elizabeth and the family in Utah, Tim is in Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia. Here is part two of his report:

Legacy Recording Complete
We completed the recording work on Legacy in Mongolian in the studio tonight about 8PM. The quality of the work is supurb. The team did a great job. Each of you should listen to it when the Mongolian version is available on a multilanguage DVD.

Mongolian Countryside
Because we were delayed in getting into the studio for production early in the week, Soyolmaa and her husband Enkhbold, along with Nicole Hui (the Asia area AV manager from Hong Kong) took a trip to the countryside.

The country looks a lot like Wyoming or Nevada. It is still early spring so the grass is not very green yet. The trees look like pine, but are all deciduous and barely beginning to bud out. The elevation of the UB and the country side is almost 5000 feet, very similar to Utah. The roads are quite the adventure, one quickly learns why most of the vehicles are 4-wheel drive. About half the vehicles have the steering wheel on the left hand side and the other half have the steering wheel on the right, even though they drive on the right-hand side of the road. It’s a bit disconcerting for one who had spent time in both worlds to have them collide.

We drove further into the hills, the rocks looked sedimentary but piled up in interesting shapes. One famous outcropping looks like a turtle, another looks like a man reading a book or praying. The local members call it “Man Reading the Book of Mormon”. . . works for me.

At the point of highest elevation we came across a man-made monument of rocks piled up and festooned with vivid blue silk banners and cloths. Mongolians traditionally walk around the stones three times in a counter clockwise direction and put a stone or something as a sacrifice with a prayer seeking a blessing. This monument had printed texts on cloth along with poles with the blue banners. There were also some abandoned crutches. Must be a story there. . . .

We stopped at a summer camping area where they were putting up gers. The Ger is the traditional dwelling of the nomads in Mongolia. It is quite interesting, here is a link: The Mongolian Yurt (Ger). This the coolest portable dwelling imaginable (coolest in the Summer and warmest in the Winter in fact). It can all be carried on camel back and set up in a few minutes. Yet it is very solid and could be lived in indefinitely.

We saw sheep, goats, Mongolian cows and horses (very small and extremely tough), and the unusual Yak. We had a chance to ride the two-humped Asian camel (Bactrian camel). It was so much easier to ride than it’s Middle Eastern cousin. It made about the same sounds though. We also held a huge eagle, he looked like a good hunting companion.

We also had the opportunity to visit the newest Mongolian marvel, a massive statue to Chinggas Khaan, the ancient ruler of the world, on horseback 40 meters tall in stainless steel. The statue’s base will be a visitor center, when it is completed you will be able to go up into the horse through the back legs and look out windows along the mane. The view will be beautiful emptiness, nothing but sheep, goats and horses (okay maybe a few Yaks). The monument is really amazing.

Ulaan Bataar
The capital of Mongolia has a number of very interesting sites. In between evaluating recording studios and preparing for production, we managed to get a few photos of some of them. The parliament building and the large square in front of it dominate the center of the city. On the foothills South of the city is a portrait on Chenggis Khaan (of course) and a giant golden statue of Buddha, along with a military monument build by the Soviets.

The city is a study in contrasts with modern high-rise office towers juxtaposed with ancient temples. The largest monastery in Ulaan Bataar is the Gandantegchinlen (Ganden) Khild (roughly meaning ‘the great palace of complete joy’),. The Tibetan Buddhist temple features fascinating prayer drums. The cylinders with characters on them are spun as you walk in a counter clockwise direction around the temples. There are little buildings with two foot high brass drums around them as you approach the temple, huge wooden drums on either side of the entrance, and dozens and dozens of the brass drums inside all around the temple. The temple features a gigantic statue of Buddha about 90 feet high.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Julie Blum said...

Hi guys. This is simply fascinating reading! I am loving keeping up with your travels and medical miracles. What did we ever do without the internet? Keep up the hard work and we'll keep you in our prayers.

May 19, 2008, 3:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a fascinating journey! What a blessing to be able to visit the members in every corner of this globe!

---Maria

May 20, 2008, 6:03:00 AM  

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