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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.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Update from Mongolia III: Food, Culture and People

Mongolian Update III:
Tim's flight was delayed leaving Mongolia today, high winds (normal) prevented flights from landing (they can't leave if they don't arrive) so he spent the day working at the Church Office in Ulaan Baatar. This is part three of Tim's Mongolian updates:

The food is great in Mongolia especially the steak and the many different types of Mongolian dumplings, I am hooked on the Khushuur, a deep fried meat version.

Dinner on Daturday night was a special treat, when we were done for the day at the studio, about 7:00 PM, Soyolmaa’s husband picked us up for a real Mongolian treat: sheep’s head. We found the restaurant and it was delightful. I tried everything (and lived). We had soup made from the four key parts of Lamb (kidney, liver, heart, and intestines). I ordered the Yak steak with a sauce made from a Mongolian berry (really good).

The piece d’ resistance was the goat head, it was skinned and cut in half and cooked (or vice versa) and served in the half-shell (so to speak). The brains are supposed to make you smarter; the tongue a better speaker (or at least better in an argument); the ears make you hear better; the eyes, see better; the soft palette more skilled in a craft or with your hands and etc. I tried them all and didn’t throw up. Actually they all tasted a lot like lamb, just a variety of textures. The brain was kind of like a pate, and the tongue kind of mushy. The soft palette was sort of chewy, as I expected. I got good photos, I didn’t actually eat an eyeball just the meat around the eye socket. Soyolmaa ate an eyeball whole and really enjoyed it. If served one I would have eaten it, but was glad for the oversight (pun intended).

Mongolia has a culture that is extensive and different. Tuesday Soyolmaa took us to a cultural show here in UB, it was a delight. Musicians performed on a number of instruments that were quite different and very beautiful. The dancing was cool and the famous Mongolian ‘Throat Singing’ (see: Mongolian Khoomii info) was weird and wonderful. One unusual instrument was a 15 foot long fiddle called the morinkhuur or horse head fiddle. The last part was a trio of young contortionists (apparently a common thing here), I was blown away. The traditional Mongolian dress is beautiful, I enjoyed the people at the many weddings in the hotel where I stayed all decked out in their formal traditional wear.

The people of Mongolia are the true highlight of any visit. They are warm, friendly and inviting. The tradition of welcome stems from the need for hospitality in a harsh environment. It is great that so much of that feeling still pervades everyday life. Among the faces of Mongolia were many graduating university students around the city all week, all dressed up in best dress and visiting the major places. The young people are beautiful and the older people have life and character written on their faces. This is a great place to find wonderful people, especially the members of the Church with their radiant smiles and infectious enthusiasm.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What beautiful, friendly people! I don't think I'd care for the cuisine, though. :-P


May 20, 2008, 4:23:00 PM  

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