Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar

There’s an okay pizza joint across from the big MobiCom center named Broadway Pizza. Last week, while going to eat at a Zochin Buuz on Peace Avenue, across from the Russian embassy, I had one of those sudden, embarrassing moments of comprehension about something that I had seen countless times but never mentally processed. Next to that Zochin Buuz location is a small entrance with a sign “Broadway Pizza,” in the same wood-beam style as the MobiCom location. So last night for dinner I stepped inside. A large staircase led down to a huge, posh subterranean bar, full of Mongolian yuppies and a few foreigners. I took a stool at the end of the bar and ordered my pizza. Off to my left was a table speaking Russian; off to my right, a table speaking French; in front of me, the bar staff were speaking Mongolian... and I couldn’t understand why English was so strong in my head, until I realized that the sound system was playing American pop-rock music. A waitress told me that a table had cleared, but I opted to stay at the bar so that I could continue exchanging glances with one of the French-speaking women.