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Leaving UB, China Bound

sunny 22 °C

So, despite the challenges of both getting to and leaving Mongolia, it turned out to be a real highlight of the trip so far. People were extraordinarily friendly (although to be honest after Russia we probably had very low expectations!), and we thoroughly enjoyed UB’s restaurant and bar ‘scene’, which was something we certainly were not anticipating. UB is undergoing something of a transformation; cranes are scattered across the sky-line as new high rise buildings sprout up all across town. And the central government area is being transformed, with a new face of the country’s parliament building. Don’t get me wrong – this is not an attractive city by any definition right now. But what it lacks in aesthetics, it more than makes up for with enthusiasm, youth and a genuine desire to advance.


Partly in support of the city that UB wants to be, and partly to support the very large traveler and expat communities, UB offers a surprisingly good selection of restaurants and bars. We came to realize how important food is as part of our journey: we are miserable surviving when we need to on plain biscuits and water. A solid meal – whether western or local – and a beer (for Lloyd) can help the challenges of travel fade into distant memory more quickly! In UB, we enjoyed good pizza (at Marco Polo), great club sandwich and fries (at Millie’s Espresso which we discovered FAR too late) and excellent German food (at the Chinggis Khan Brau Haus), although the latter did leave us with squishy bellies (internally speaking). Mongolian ‘traditional’ cuisine is largely based on meat and potato, so maybe it makes sense that a German restaurant would succeed here. Staying with Germany, we’ve already mentioned elsewhere Café Sacher which was just an oasis for us, with a very impressive selection of German pastries and breads – the owner a German-American expat from Munich who married an American and has since lived in Hong-Kong and UB for 38 years. And we also became ‘regulars’ (so, 3 visits) at an Irish Bar which unfortunately failed to deliver Guinness on draft for Lloyd on all occasions. California was highly recommended in our now-loathed guide book for American cuisine, and we did go there twice but on both occasions received such terrible service that we’d put it to the bottom of our list if we were to return.


And return we just might. UB is an up-and-coming city. If we had jobs that required us to relocate internationally every few years of so, this would be a definite candidate (Rog?). In the meantime, Lloyd and I would come back to see how UB is progressing, and to escape out to some of the less built up areas without the two 20-yr olds.



Posted by lloydthyen 05:49 Archived in Mongolia Tagged round_the_world

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