After an exciting breakfast of cornflakes we set out on a very bumpy car ride to the ger of the founder of The Child Smile Foundation, Dawa. Upon arrival we were greeted by many of the children from the centre, who often spend their weekends playing there. After a short tour of the ger we all tried some freshly baked Mongolian snacks whilst admiring the spectacular view over the city.
Following a quick game of basketball we set out to our next stop of the day: The Intelligence Museum.
The museum was four floors of both Mongolian and international puzzles, including an entire floor of different chess sets. Many of the puzzles were made by the museum’s founder, who started making puzzles when he was 10 years old. Our favourite part was when we got to attempt some of the puzzles ourselves!
After a very filling but late lunch we headed to the incredible Bogd Khaan Palace. Built in 1911 for the last king of Mongolia, the 8th Bogd Khaan, it’s one of the few Mongolian sites to survive communist reign. We all enjoyed the tour and learning about the different Buddhist gods in the gorgeous artwork.
Then we climbed up Zaisan Hill to see the memorial to Soviet soldiers and admire another great view over the entire city. We then rushed to karaoke - a sweaty but entertaining hour of fun! Performances included Fame, Bohemian Rhapsody and a leaders’ only version of I’m a Survivor! We finished the day with pizza before falling into bed.
We started Sunday morning with a breakfast of chocolate pancakes. We then took the bus to the countryside with eleven Guides from Mongolia. After a short tour of their camp we did a presentation on UK guiding. We explained the Promise and the different sections and then played some songs and games.
Following a meal that seemed to be the equivalent of school dinners, the Mongolian girls did a presentation on their traditional life and culture. We were then taught a variety of games all played with sheep knuckles, which we all enjoyed very much. We exchanged gifts and headed back to Ulaanbaatar.
After saying goodbye to our new friends we headed to the theatre. We saw an amazing performance of traditional Mongolian arts including dancing, the horse-headed fiddle, and our personal favourite - throat singing. We then raided the gift shop before going home for veggie takeaway. We were all exhausted after a long, exciting weekend and went straight to bed.
Best wishes from Mongolia!
Emily & Annie, today’s authors of the LaSER Mongolia team blog!