The social life here has been pretty good. For the past three weeks all the bars have closed at 10:00 pm in an attempt to contain SARS. Instead of going out and exploring (or even going to bed early and catching up on sleep) we had to stay inside and entertain ourselves. Finally this past weekend we were able to stay out as late as we wanted, and wow…we took advantage of it. 🙂
Friday nights here usually start around 6:30 or so at the British Embassy. They’ve got a bar called “The Steppe Inne” that all the ex-pats congregate at. We usually have a few beers and then various groups tend to go out and get dinner and then maybe head out to a dance club.
Sunday afternoons are for Cricket…I’ve never played this game before, but it’s been a lot of fun. I can’t see getting attached to it in the states, but here its a great way to spend a Sunday evening.
Tuesdays are for the Hash House Harriers…it’s a drinking group with a running problem. Babak has done this for years in various countries, but it’s my first exposure to the group, and I’ve got to say its fantastic! It’s a great excuse to get out to the mountains on the outskirts of the city and go hiking for a few hours. Afterwards we’ll usually have some food provided by one of the local restaurants, and then go out and have some beers. Babak has got the most outspoken personality of the group, and has taken over the religious adviser role. He and I are going out to set the hash next weekend in the hills near the Zaisan memorial.
The Zaisan memorial is a huge Soviet style monument built to honor Soviet war dead. Its big, garish, and offers one of the best views of the city from the top. Apparently when the Soviets were providing over half the income for the Mongolians there was an eternal flame at the top, but due to budget cuts its become more of an occasional flame….usually only when a Russian dignitary visits.