A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: zmorris

A Dinner We Won't Soon Forget!

We were at a restauraunt in Ulaan Baatar, in a private room, waiting for Steve Saunders to arrive (this was to be our last dinner with our beloved consultant or whatever his title is), when we noticed 3 serious looking Mongolian men dressed in suits peeking into our room. At the time we thought no more of it than just some random Mongolians interested in seeing the oddly placed 10 foreigners eating in their local restaurant. Little did we know these were Mongolian secret service agents, with no ear things in their ear to give them away, but I'm sure they had cell phones or something.

About 5 minutes after our boy Steve walked in the room, surprisingly with the same men and another well dressed man he introduced to us as the former 2 time Prime Minister Elbegdorj (EB for short, kind of like Dubya I guess). Wikipedia him and you'll find that this is the big time politician in all of Mongolia, and he's running for office again next summer. He was the one who lead the country during its transition to capitalism and is regarded as the most popular politician in the country. (Though I'm not sure how he pulled that one off. The transition definitely did not go as smoothly as he had planned. With many Mongolian finding themselves in extreme poverty and many government officials suspiciously finding themselves with extremely nice cars) Needless to say it was a very interesting dinner and the Prime Minister seemed very nice and answered fairly well a question of mine about the Ger Districts. Since he is someone with a lot of history behind him and also a lot more politicking in front of him (hes only 43), we were all very glad to meet him, and we'll be sure to keep an eye on him in the future.

Posted by zmorris 02:12 Comments (0)

Zach's Impression of Beijing/China

Beijing is definitely happening. The streets are crowded, there are endless buildings with very impressive architecture, and the only other city that seems comparable is NYC. Public transportation and bike access are great and I think some US cities could definitely learn a few things from the way things are run here. Preparations for the olympics are intense and I can't imagine how crazy its going to be here come this time next year, a fiasco at best.

Understanding the political/government system here in China has proved to be very intriguing and sometimes even disturbing. I've definitely learned a lot about this peculiar system.

All in all its been a really enjoyable and educational trip so far, though I can't wait to get to our final destination already!

Posted by zmorris 22:38 Comments (0)

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