By Mark

We have been pleasantly surprised by many things that we can find in Mongolia that we were not expecting.  Just the other week at Nomin (the Mongolian version of Sam’s club) we saw bread knives- there is no guarantee they will be here next week or we could get them again but there they were.  There are many things we have found here that take longer to do, some only a few minutes extra, others are a lot longer- to give you some insight into our new world here are some things.  I want to be clear that I am not complaining that things take longer but it does take longer.   Next time you do many of the “mundane” things in your home don’t take them for granted.  Because things take longer simply accomplishing the every day living tasks can be tiresome. 

  • Food: There isn’t pre-packaged food here (except for Ramen) so everything gets made from scratch.  It tastes good but takes longer.  Also all the produce needs to get washed off before we use it so that takes longer.  One faster thing is the rice cooker we have- makes it in under an hour, just add water, rice, push the button and perfect rice every time.
  • Washing: We like our washing machine, a front loading Samsung.  Its smaller than ones in the States so you cannot wash as much and there is no dryer so everything is air dried.  With the heat on it now goes faster.  No mechanical dish washer so the dishes get washed by hand (yes, I have dishpan hands).  Our dish soap is called Farie.
  • Water: Its not recommended to drink the water here straight from the tap.  We run our water through a Berkey filter (great filter but I have rust on the weld seam and Berkey insists its mineral deposits, arrgh, another story).  It has about a 4.5 gallon capacity and takes time to refill it every few days.  When you brush your teeth you have to have a bottle of water with you to rinse- a bit more time.
  • Travel: We either take a taxi (about .34 a person per ride)  400 Tugreg or depend on friends to catch a ride or walk.  Going to the market isn’t always a matter of finding everything in one spot but it takes a while to walk around and find what you need.  Then again that’s not to different from Wal-Mart in Russellville.
  • Bills: Either people come to you to get paid (cable, garbage) or you have to go to them (everything else).  Every month it takes several hours to travel around and pay your bills, or eventually you get cut off. Nothing yet to pay by mail or via the Internet.