Today I decided to explore, but before I did ask the owner of the the hotel for some tips. He suggested the Gandantegchenling Monastery, The Mongolian Natural History Museum and Bogd Khaan’s Palace Museum. This worked for me because I needed to pick up my Beijing Train ticket from near where the The Mongolian Natural History Museum.
The approach to the Gandantegchenling Monastery was a carpet of pigeons, which I found quite appealing. Once in I had a good look round, it was very peaceful as you would imagine. I sat in a room for while where a group of young monks were, one was practicing a form of some sort and the others were sat talking.
As I arrived a wedding party pulled up and entered the Monastery to say the prayer and follow some rituals of spinning lots of cylinders
After the monk finished his practising he sat near me and said ‘hello’. I attempted to start a conversation about meditation and pain control but my Mongolian tongue is non existent and his English is patchy, but 1000 times better than my Mongolian.
We conversed the best we could and he let me take a couple of pictures and we exchanged questions about age, he is 25. I found out he had no parents and his gran left him at the Monastery when he was 7. He then asked if he could show me where he lives, which he did and very hospitable he was too offering me a Goats Milk pellet which tasted OK. He showed me some photos, one of him and Richard Gere from when he was younger. I left a donation for him and promised I would send little buddhist bits to him as I travel. He very kindly gave me an Yellow/Orange scarf and envelope with some sort of seeds in it.
Walking away and exploring some more of the area I could not help but think of Zolbayar and how kind he had been and how different our lives had been.
As I moved further from the peaceful monastery into a loud and hectic city centre, made even more so by the road on the main street being closed because they are installing a new sewage system and frustrated car driviers honking their horns. I readjusted by realising that I needed to eat lunch on my way to pick up the tickets for the train to Beijing. I found a, wait for this, a vegan restaurant that served me a lovely Spaghetti Bolognese, with the Mongolian version of ‘Quorn’ or as the menu so nicely put it ‘Soya Protein”.
Picking up my tickets was a doddle because I knew where I was going after trying to get them on Sunday morning. From there it was off to the The Natural History Museum to see those Dinosaurs. I got there bought my tickets and paid extra so I could take photos. I walked in to the first room and read the front of the program they gave me. It was called the Mongolian National Museum. It had lots of fascinating stuff from their national dress, housing and their history right through to the present time. However, now I want to see Dinosaurs! A quick Google has shown me that I need to go to the “Central Museum of Mongolian Dinosaurs“. I will go there before I leave.
After heading back to my room to make a sandwich with fresh ingredients I picked up from the State Department Store I went to find Bogd Khaan’s Palace Museum, however it was closed because it 8:30pm at night, however other museums tend to stay open until 10pm, so I will try and go there today as well as seeing the dinosaurs.
What I learned today:
- Kindness is universal regardless of your upbringing.
- Always read the text properly to know what you are getting.