Mind currently in: Mongolia

Mongolia borders other thoughts in my mind the same way it borers Russia in real life: quietly, peripherally, passively.

Russia-Mongolia border.

Mr. B always makes fun of me for being Mongoloid because sometime, vaguely, years ago, I mentioned to him that it’s possible that my dad’s side of the family, like many Russians, have Mongolian or Tatar ancestry after I saw a picture of my aunt when she was younger looking more Asian than European.  According to Armchair Anthropologist Boykis, this is the reason why I enjoy horses and always have a yearning to travel somewhere far away.

According to me, I love horses because I love all animals (except cats) and I have a yearning to travel away from armchair anthropologists.

Prayer pole.

So, in order to get closer to my (not-really) roots, I’ve started reading Travels in an Untamed Land by Jasper Becker, who got one of the first journalist visas after the collapse of the Soviet Union and writes with amazing detail about Mongolia.

I’ll try to do a full review once I’m done but this book is so cool I thought I’d share now.  It’s a travel book, history book, anthopological volume, and religious document all at once.  Becker describes his travels in chapters of themes, with one devoted to really creepy/cool shamanism, another to Buddhism, another to Mongolia under communism, etc. etc.  Of course there is one about Genghis Khan (which I am reading right now) but the point of the book is to stay away from broad stereotypes and delve into the minutiae of everyday life in post-communist Mongolia, much like a blog would.

World cup in a ger(yurt)

Here is a list of stuff I’ve already learned about and I’m only halfway through:

And here are  some more really cool pictures from Mongolia because I am getting inexplicable wanderlust again.