Today was a free day. Well actually it was not free, but I was not scheduled to work, so we spent the day touring. It started with a breakfast and men’s group meeting where we talked about sharing our faith at work. Breakfast was a big platter of hot meat, sort of like fried bologna, fried eggs, cheese, bread, and cold meat, like a salami. Very 4 leaf. They always have milk tea, but I don’t like milk tea. It is very salty and reminds me of something I should gargle with. But other than that I like everything else. I especially like yak, but I think you know that.

We went to their government center and national museum, which is surprisingly called the national museum of Mongolia. It was very interesting and informative. Ghengis Khan is there national hero, but you must pronounce his name right or they get upset; it is chingis Han, so please say it right from now on. For lunch I had Mongolian meatballs and rice, called tacajab (I just made that up), and it was pretty good. I have not had coffee in a week because all they have is instant Nescafé, and I am a coffee snob, so I am boycotting coffee for now. But as soon as I see real coffee I am going to have a big one, with extra cream and sugar if they have it. Yak milk is very creamy. I think I will buy one. But I don’t want to spend more than 2200 for it.

Today I went shopping. At a place called the black market. It was muddy though, like a brown market. But I guess they did not like that name. Now I don’t like shopping unless it is Cabellas or LLBean, and this black market was a huge collection of small vendors selling anything you wanted ( except yak, I didn’t see any of them). I was on a mission. Buy something nice for my wife and 4 daughters. Now walking around a crowded black market with professional pick pockets in a foreign country where you don’t know the language does not scare me. But shopping for 5 girls, that is terrifying. At Christmas I only have to shop for Nancy and if I make a mistake I can just return it. And all I have to do is sign my daughters cards and pretend like I know what they are getting for Christmas and I am all set. But here I am on my own with a no return policy. What should I get, what size, what color. If I get to big they will say I think they are fat. If I get to small they will say I think they are fat. If I get the wrong color, they will say I think they are fat. They are not fat, they are all beautiful girls. But now I am scared to pick out anything with a size. Maybe I will get them a snuff bottle. Mongolian women love snuff bottles. Maybe someone can tell me what a snuff bottle is for, But I don’t know Mongolian. This is to much pressure. Maybe I will go back to the clinic and do something relaxing like a cruciate surgery.

And one other thing. When you cross a road in Ulaanbaatar, you must be an athlete; an agility course sprinter to be more accurate. It is like the old video game “frogger” where you jump from lane to lane without getting hit and when you get to the middle of the road you must stand sideways and suck in your gut and wait for an opening and then sprint between the honking cars. It is exciting in a sick way, but that is what you have to do. I have not seen anyone get hurt, but I have not seen one frog since I have been here. I guess they are not fast enough.

Until tomorrow. God Bless
Dr Mike