Monday, April 2, 2007

Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar

Went to Chinggis Khaan University today and met with Lkhagvasuren. With some teachers, we went out to lunch at Aura.

I had been to Aura once before with Lkhagvasuren. This time, the restaurant was almost full, and we went up to the second floor.

The second floor is more of a bar, with booths and low tables and some kind of decor. There are dolphins in bas-relief on the walls and seagulls in bas-relief on the ceiling. A thangka like mine hangs behind the bar.

Lkhagvasuren saw “American fried chicken” on the menu and naturally ordered it for me.

I had picked up a sniffle walking from my apartment to the university in the gray Ulaanbaatar air. Lkhagvasuren ordered vodka all around and told me to drink it for my nose. “Sto gram,” he said, speaking Russian to me. One hundred grams. “Drink, Radnaa.”

“That’s Russian medicine,” I said.

“It is medicine,” he said. “We are all the same, Russian, Mongolian, American. We all have two eyes, two ears, one nose. Medicine works the same.”

He also ordered soup for my nose. “You must drink the vodka and then eat the soup immediately after.” The soup was delicious—garlic, pepper, cabbage, potatoes, and tender meat. Lkhagvasuren clapped me on the shoulder, “It is horsemeat, it is healthy.”

The “American fried chicken” was a breaded chicken fillet, and it also was delicious.