Fashion show

Until I moved to Mongolia, I never knew how much you could do with cashmere. Skirts, dresses, leggings… I’ve seen some cool stuff. And I am the proud owner of a couple of pieces myself.

To give you an idea of how stylish and chic it can be, I took some pics during a fashion show we stumbled upon at the Gobi Cashmere mega store (we were there to get my friend Em fitted for a cashmere coat).

But just when the crowd thought the show was over (it might have had something to do with the models doing the final catwalk), out came Stripy Mike in a very slick cashmere suit! Clearly, he stole the show.

Sliding train doors

In the recent ‘I heart my friends‘ post, I posted a photo of me and Richard, some bloke I met on a train.

The story doesn’t end there.

When we were on the train, Richard told me he worked for the same mine that I do (I’m just normally based in the city) on a pretty specific part of the project that some of our friends work on. And that’s how I figured out he would know Craig. When we left the train, I of course told him that if he was ever passing through UB and wanted a drink at the Big Irish, then let me know! But I guess I didn’t think much more of it.

Anyway, two weeks ago I was down on site, and I went over to see Stripey Mike.

Stripey Mike works in the same area as Craig… which means… the same area as Richard! Completely unexpectedly (I didn’t know just how closely they all worked), I ran into Richard. And he greeted me with a huge hug (which sure did confuse the people around us!). Now, he had only met me once, on a train, and he greets me with a hug… I love this guy!

So I was a bit bummed to hear that he is retiring, and he’ll be leaving much sooner, rather than later. I mean good for Richard, but seriously, our friendship has just begun! From what I can gather, there’s a few other people in the Richard Fan Club that are also upset that he’ll be leaving.

As it happens, I was down on site while Richard was having his retirement / birthday party… and I received an invite! (ok, ok, so I found out about it, and I begged to have my name put on the door list. You’d do it too…)

What a guy! All the best Richard, and I hope life makes our paths cross again.

The ‘Richard Story’ is such an obvious ‘Sliding Doors’ moment. Life is pretty cool sometimes.

God save the Queen

So Queen Lizzie celebrated her diamond jubilee recently. So of course the Poms, Aussies and our Commonwealth cousins from Canadia and Seth Efricah got together to celebrate.

Pre-ball wardrobe malfunction... clearly Emma didn't look too concerned, champagne helps. But thank the Queen, Yvette had needle and thread.

Don't we look beautiful...

Queen Lizzie would have been so proud of us wearing tea cosies on our heads, right?

Stunning Sue, other wise known as Bombshell... for various reasons, depending on who you ask, but this night left no question: she was one hot tomale!

Ivan, are you saluting the Queen?

The guy on the right, Matt, is an American... there were a few of them there that night... which puzzled me... didn't they fight some war against the Monarchy? What's that, they were just there for the booze? Well sheesh, that practically makes them Australian!

Beer tent

You know the saying that there’s two things certain in life: death and taxes.

I actually prefer to say there’s three things certain in life: death, taxes, and if you go out drinking with Batbold and Craig you know that at some point, something, err, unexpected will happen.

On this particular night, we ended up in a massive beer tent with at least 500 Mongolians cheering on the opening of the EU soccer tournament thingy. I don’t even like soccer! But apparently Mongolians love it.

Just four friends, hanging out, having a beer - not so strange, right?

You could only buy beers that were bigger than my head...

... and they required two hands to drink them.

There was a very important looking journalist there...

... who was interviewing a very important looking man... oh yeah, that's the Mongolian Prime Minister.

Craig suddenly turned into a pro soccer player...

... me and Batbold, not so much.

To be fair, there’s been stranger nights out with these two guys. But walking into a beer tent with over 500 Mongolians, cheerleaders, rock bands, pop idols and the Mongolian Prime Minister and his entourage (including burly security guys)… it’s a little up there.

I heart my friends

A couple of photos missing from the video of China were the ones of all of the wonderful friends I caught up with while travelling.

Not becuase they aren’t special enough.

Quite the contrary… I wanted to make a point of how happy I was to see them all.

Ian, my personal trainer from Beijing, and my infamous Shifu... yes, the guy who taught me how to use nunchuks!

As always, a treat catching up with Paul & Sandy

Oh Mrs Catchy, you always know how to make me smile!

Two of the prettiest girls I know - Heidi & Stefi

Brother Bayne! He really is my brother from another mother.

I even caught up with some friends from Mongolia, Batbold & Uyanga.

I made a new friend on the train, Richard. Turns out he knows a good friend of ours. Small world, eh? I've decided that '6 degrees of Kevin Bacon' is so last year, and you should try playing '6 degrees of Craig McBaron'.

One of the downsides of moving around so much is having to leave great friends. Of course, one of the plusses is I get to meet amazing people wherever I go. Oh, the cruel twist of irony and/or fate.

Oh hi, how are you?!

A couple of Sundays ago, my friend Emma thought it would be nice to take our city dwelling friends (Sydney, Melbourne, London) into the wilds of Mongolia on a horse riding adventure.

These are the types of photos you should be seeing in this post…

(FYI: This stunning photo is of my friend Susie. I stole it from her very awesome blog. Well worth a read, especially now that she’s just put up her Eagle Festival pix.)

… but instead of photos like the above, you get this:

Now, there were several things that happened on this particular day that maybe we should have taken as signs to turn back. Like, the only available coffee was in a can and would make our “heart sweet”.

But soon after the shot of Mike and Kai looking under the bonnet (or hood, if you’re American), they proudly announced they were able to “override the problem”. Hmm… again, some of you may have taken this as a sign… but not us, oh no, we are stupid fearless foreigners.

So onward we went, which was great, as it allowed me to take this great photo:

This is where the car decided to die completely. Pretty much in the middle of Mongolia (read: nowhere).

Now, it’s not all bad news, as I am here to write the blog entry. And, we were travelling in two cars, with wine and snacks.

So we didn’t go horse riding, big deal! There were other highlights of the day, and I’ll do my best to capture them here:

  • The city slickers ran into the little shop in the middle of nowhere to see if they coud get a latte or cappucino.
  • After the boys fixed the first problem, Jess, the Melbournite, asked: “Does anyone consider it a risk that our brake lights don’t work?” To which the Queenslanders responded, “nah, she’ll be right, mate, in fact, we’re pretty sure that working brake lights just confuses the locals!”.
  • Emma and I could see Dasha, the sick-as-a-dog Sydney-sider, tearing out of the broken down car and up to us in the second car. When she got in, she told us another great solution had been put forward… it involved reversing the car really quickly and slamming on the brakes so the brake pads would realign. My guess is that’s why the car died completely.
  • In our convoy of two cars filled with stupid round-eyes, we took a wrong turn and ended up in a small Mongolian military town.
  • Mike screamed like a girl when we almost had a head on (but don’t worry Mum, because we didn’t crash).
  • Oh yeah, and on the way back into town, we got pulled over by the cops. The last time this happened to Mike, they suspended his Mongolian license. So he was a little stressed. Even more stressed when he couldn’t find his wallet which had his license and Alien Registration card in it. Good news, it was underneath a pile of beanies, and gloves, and scarves in the front seat. Even better news, he got to keep his license. What’s so funny about this, you ask? As the cop handed back his documents, and nodded for us to go, Mike graciously said “sain baina uu!”. This caused the cop to lower and shake his head, and mutter something which I swear was “idiot!”. You see, “sain baina uu” does not mean¬† “thank you”, or “good bye”, or “cheers mate, I really appreciate you going easy on me” but more like… “oh hi!¬† good to see you! how are you? are you keeping well?”.

So on that note, there really is only one thing left to say: sain baina uu!

Country day

When our friend Batbold asked if we wanted to join him and some of his mates for a day out of UB, I was like, ‘oh hell yes!’…

Such a great day… I did, after all, have my first ever shot of straight-up whiskey… three in fact… and two right before we played a game of Mugby, outside, in -20 weather.

Here’s a little video that captures the adventure, including driving through a very different part of UB than my last video showed….