Sunday, May 30, 2010

*MY* Mongolia Map...

GLITCH! Dangit! The link below goes to a map of "A Day in My Life" in Beijing, which is the first map you'd see if you go into my maps. I can't seem to link specifically to the Mongolia map... it's there if you want to dig it up... I'm still going to try to work on it... :( Here is a picture of the map you'd ideally see.,116.404266&spn=0.106614,0.233459&t=h&z=12

Ok, so it's Google's map, but I put dots & lines & descriptions all over it to show the places I went. The location of the story beneath this entry, "Recycling Kids" can be found on the map, it's the icon of the hikers. Perhaps I will use this map to refresh my memory and tell more stories.... and yes, I realize no one reads this blog. But I don't care. Writing the little stories down refreshes my memory. Maybe someday my kid or a grandkid (or strangers) will like reading these little things.
So there.

Or maybe someday I'll have Alzheimer's and this blog will be the only thing that makes me happy. Ya just never know. If I have it while you're reading this, you could also try giving me jigsaw puzzles; that oughta keep me busy for hours. Or put me on the computer with Google maps and tell me to find stuff.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mongolia Memory: Recycling kids

No, not trading them in or anything gross. A girl around 6 years old and a boy around 4-5, after dark, collecting cans & bottles. They kicked them along their route, because their arms were full of plastic bags overflowing with recyclables. I first heard them behind us as we were about halfway down a LONG set of outdoor stairs that went partway down a mountain. We'd been sightseeing, to a small mountain you can climb to see some kind of historical monument. You can meander down the back of the mountain over the grass & rocks, past a giant Buddha who stands overlooking the capital city, Ulaan Baator, which I can proudly pronounce properly.
I forget what the historical monument was all about, but I remember the shabby, rickety bus ride there and the walk back. I still have some little rocks I picked up from an excavation site on the way. I wrote "I am from Mongolia" on one.

So on the way back from our dusk jaunt to this little mountain, halfway down that LONG flight of steps, my little rocks in pocket, water bottle in another... we start to hear clinks, clanks, & clunks falling down the stairs from the top. The kids were gently kicking, more like nudging, cans & bottles down the stairs with their feet... arms overflowing with shopping bags overflowing with recyclables.

They wanted EVERY can they could get. They were not only cute, and it made such a lovely yet sad scene, but the thing that stood out after seeing so many kids begging... not only begging but physically grabbing tourists' arms and saying their few English words, "Money, money, eat, eat"... was that these two kids were walking near us, two white people, and NOT begging. Not asking for a cent. They were working for their money, at that age - hip height. My sightseeing buddy had lived in Mongolia for a couple months and I'm assuming he handled it in a good way. He didn't hand them money. He dropped it in their path. He dropped a 500 note (about enough for one night's worth of vegetables for a family). He didn't say anything, and neither did they. The girl stopped and looked at us, unsure of what to do. I wondered if she was thinking of telling us we dropped something. I didn't want her to feel like she'd stolen, so I turned back and smiled and gave a look that said it was for her. She smiled back and stooped down, managing to pick it up without putting down her armfuls of cans & bottles.

someone stole my weather widget

I had a lovely red weather widget in the top right corner that told the weather in Beijing. It's gone. Just disappeared. That's what happens when you ignore your blogs. People pillage them.
I find myself missing the striking color of it more so than actually knowing the weather in Beijing. It looked good.
Life has been quite turbulent lately.

On an unrelated note, when I got back to the US (2008) I was missing a picture disk of my entire trip to Mongolia. My pictures literally stop at the border, where I changed disks. I was thinking about Mongolia today, and when I gather my thoughts I'm going to write some of those memories being that I don't even have a photo and I don't want it to disappear... once I no longer remember it, it's gone.