Day to Day

So for most days it was up 7 or 8, eat a fairly leisurely breakfast of made-to-order omelets, sausage, yogurt, almost decent coffee. There was a lot of dinner food served like pasta carbonara but i just could not get behind that for breakfast.

A embassy van would pick us up and we would be dropped at the various locations for teaching, choreographing, lecturing, observing. We went to universities, grade schools, the School for the hearing impaired, three different dance groups' studios and a place called The American Corner where young adults gather to learn and practice English. These organizations were all chosen by the embassy and we were welcomed everywhere.

I mostly took photos and videos but Sarah and I talked at the American Corner one afternoon. This was not a dance audience and I got the feeling they were not necessarily interested in Dana's group but they did seem interested in how we felt about Mongolian folk dancing, contortionists," Dancing with the Stars" type programs and Lady GaGa. Mostly I think we provided real English speaking people to talk and listen to.

In the evenings we went to the hotel bar and worked on the Chronicle for Higher Education blog. Dana wrote, I made editorial suggestions and then we went through photos that fit with the text and/or were interesting. We then emailed everything and in the morning at breakfast we were able to see the final blog entries at the Chronicle site.

We usually drank Chinggis beer at the bar and one night we sampled the local wheat beer.

On Thursday early evening we were finally able to do a bit of shopping. We went to the huge State Department store which sounds like it kept its name from Soviet times. The souvenirs were on the 8th floor so we spent time there. I also ventured down to the cashmere floor to find a sweater for my aunt Zita and was successful. (Cashmere is an important Mongolian export) We were some of the last people in the store.

Friday (last full day in Ulaanbaatar) was spent at the theater preparing for the evening performance. The uneven wood plank floor delayed warmup and rehearsal. The 4 dancers and I walked around a bit and ate at the Grand Khan Irish Pub which was pretty good. The floor was eventually covered with felt and the a marley (vinyl) dance floor. The dancers said that dancing on it was other-worldly but they did fine.


The performance was by embassy invitation only (not sure why) and was about 3/4 filled. US Ambassador Addleton (who grew up in Macon, GA) and his wife attended and stuck around for the little reception afterwards. We took a group picture of embassy staff and translators, Tumen Ek dancers and other guests before heading back to the hotel to eat and blog at the bar.