I am going to begin by asking you for a small favor. IF you get tired and bored with reading this lengthy post ..
Before you hit escape PLEASE go directly to my signature line at the bottom of this post and then read .. The Rest Of The Story ..
This post is Part 1 in a series of two posts. In this Part 1 you will basically see photos of the Sukhbaatar railway station and neighboring environs and of my hotel in Sukhbaatar.
Part 2 which follows below this post will show you my recent train trip here in Mongolia last week on Thursday August the 13th 2015 when I returned from Sukhbaatar to Ulaanbaatar.
IF you are interested in two automobile trips here in Mongolia .. you may click onto the two links immediately below to see those trips in detail. IN DETAIL?? Baba Kaps!! That is one great understatement.
Previously I have shown you my experience riding the Trans-Mongolian / Siberian Express train from Ulaanbaatar Mongolia North to Sukhbaatar on August the 11th 2015.
Please click onto the below link if you wish to re-visit my post showing details of that train trip.
Here we go on Part 1 of this two-part post ..
To refresh your memories .. let me slip in one of Andrej’s phenomenal maps to show you the two cities that I traveled between. The dark line (see the balloon to the left) across the top of the map running from the left and sloping down to right is the International Border between Russia (North) and Mongolia (South). The balloon between Sukhbaatar and Ullanbaatar points to the City of Darkhan .. the third largest city in Mongolia.
In all fairness to my cadre of support here in Mongolia before I continue here I must again repeat myself. Without all of my friends .. NONE-OF-THIS would be happening. In fact I would not even be here without them. It was they who invited me to come up to Mongolia to meet them.
Thank You So Much Deegi (DAY-ghee) for putting this particular trip together for me ..
You too Changer! Without you translating for Teke and her travel agency and myself .. I am not sure how this would have come together ..
Happy? You are providing me with an exceptionally luxurious apartment to live in complete with a full service Dell Desk-Top Computer at my disposal. BESIDES you are such a happy joyous soul I just have to put your photo in here.
Happy my friend YOU make me smile .. Your joy is contagious !!
Here we go ..
It was a pleasant day (DEFINITION OF A PLEASANT DAY: IT WAS NOT RAINING CATS-AND-DOGS) when we (all of you were here with me hence the use of the term ‘we’) pulled out of the Ulaanbaater railway station heading North for Sukhbaatar on Tuesday the 11th of August 2015.
En route North to Sukhbaatar we saw some very nice .. very typical .. Mongolian countryside ..
We pulled into Sukhbaatar Mongolia at about 11 o’clock in the late evening. It was PITCH BLACK outside. The HOWLING WIND was driving the RAIN sidewise. I did not have the presence-of-mind to snap their photos but it sure was nice that two friends were there at the Sukhbaatar railway station waiting for me!
Out of the Sukhbaatar railway station my two friends led me. Across the street .. with them carrying my luggage .. we went. It was so dark I could not see the back of my hand before my face! The wind and rain were soaking us to the skin. The puddles were like lakes.
“MAN ALIVE!” I THOUGHT TO MYSELF .. “WHAT MUST MONGOLIA BE LIKE IN THE WINTER!”
I snapped the below photos the next morning .. Wednesday morning the 12th of August 2015.
PRETEND THAT YOU ARE BLINDFOLDED!!
It was THAT DARK!!
And you walked the below walk to my hotel ..
BLINDFOLDED! .. Absolutely unable to see much ..
For openers .. the entire walk was over VERY UNEVEN surfaces. All of it .. the sidewalks and the streets ..
A look-back at the station. You can clearly see the white railing of the above walkway in the below photo.
YES!! .. I have said that the railway station was ‘just across-the-street’ from my hotel. A photo is worth-a-thousand words. Below is what ‘just-across-the-street’ means. My hotel is almost dead-center directly straight-ahead-of-you in the below photo. So in the pitch black night of a howling wind and driving rain .. ‘just-across-the-street’ was a LONG WAY !!
Another photo of my hotel as viewed from the railway station. It certainly is a bit-of-a-walk even from just-across-the-street.
Now we are going to look back at the railway station from a different vantage point. The below photo was taken from my room during my earlier .. nice weather visit to Sukhbaatar. In the below photo the main railway station is the building you see between the two lamp poles to the right of center. The walk between the railway station and my hotel is looking longer and longer to me!
As long as I am showing you some exterior hotel views .. I am going to continue and show you the below.
Here you have it. The HOTEL XYHCH and those ‘backward ‘ N’s one with a ‘half-moon’ above it lose me ..
OK here we go back to the walk between the railway station and my hotel in the dark of a howling windy rainstorm ..
Back to .. taa-daa .. some of Baba Kanbaatar’s ..
Keep in mind that it’s PITCH BLACK ..You don’t .. You can’t .. You are totally unable to see little things in front of you. You know little things like small lakes. Yes .. below the surface of these little lakes are pot holes just waiting for you to step-into and to trip-and-fall or to sprain-an-ankle.
Ah-h-h-h .. HOME-AT-LAST .. Below is the parking lot of the hotel that I stayed at when I was in Sukhbaatar previously .. during some nice sunny weather .. we are almost there ..
Can you all grasp the challenge of dealing with the UNEVENNESS of the streets and the sidewalks that we were creeping along on in the dark!
Basically BLINDFOLDED!! With the wind howling and the cold rain soaking you to the skin. Putting up my umbrella was a total waste-of-time. The wind would have destroyed it and the rain was coming-in sideways.
We are there .. We are at my hotel ..
OH COME-ON KANBAATAR!! .. I thought you were a former GYRENE!!
Within the Marine Corps its members often refer to each other as GYRENES ..
GET-HOLD-OF-YOURSELF KANBAATAR !! .. WHAT’S A LITTLE RAIN !!
SUCK-IT-UP MAN!! /SIGNED/ .. CHINGGIS KHAAN ..
I stayed in this hotel when I drove up to Sukhbaatar with friends Deegi and Saina.
My-Oh-My .. The entryway stairs up to my room. Do they look warm and inviting.
Below we have come up-the-stairs to the second floor where my room is located. Look carefully (PATTI) at the couch on the right in the below photo. Do you notice anything? If not you will see further below what you may-have-missed ..
Kitty! Do you live on the couch? Are you always sleeping? My experience is YES to both questions ..
MY ROOM LOOKED WONDERFUL TO ME !!
Here is my room .. Here is my home-away-from-home in Sukhbaatar Mongolia .. Oh-My didn’t you look-so-good to me as I came in soaked-to-the-skin and chilly !!
My-kind-of-room .. Clean and basic ..
The rest room is visible straight through the door ..
A shared facility for the hotel guests .. YES this is inded My-kind-of-place ..
With out the below modern-convenience .. I would not have returned to my hotel .. trust me ..
Downstairs IN the hotel is a NIFTY convenience-store.
YES .. I paid-it-a-visit once I got dried off and settled-into-my-room ..
ZOWIEE .. Some chow after the trip North ..
Water is critical .. Water is Number One on my shopping list!! I add Sweppes Brand +C to my water because it enables me to drink much more water than I am able to do-so with plain water. I use yogurt (bottom left) as ‘milk’ on my cereal (bottom right). I fill-up on bread and POPCORN for comfort !!
My very closest friends KNOW how much I miss my POPCORN when I am out of the U.S. Finding this was amazing. Come to me Miss POPCORN !! What a wonderful ‘mid-night’ snack I enjoyed!
My RHETORICAL QUESTION : What more do I need?
ATTA-BOY KANBAATER .. ATTA BOY !! /SIGNED/ .. CHINGGIS KHAN ..
“Do you think that I could-ride with your armies BIG KHAAN.” ..
“I’ll have to think on that Little Kanbaatar. I am extremely concerned that you did not like MY KIND OF SOUP with the blood and vital organs and veins and all of the other good stuff in it that WE MONGOLS loved to eat.” /SIGNED/ .. CHINGGIS KHAAN ..
Deegi and Saina .. IF you two hadn’t been sitting right-with-me I never would have eaten as much of the soup as I actually ate.
“Baba Kanbaatar what do you do all day when it is raining and nasty outside.”
One very important-to-me activity is putting stamps onto my post cards and then writing a post card to YOU !!
I hang-out with .. and I shoot a little pool with .. all of my Sukhbaatar Mongolian friends with whom I want to spend some quality time.
And .. in my spare-time .. I went over and I did a photo-shoot of the Sukhbaatar railway station ..
YES !! IN THE RAIN !!
ATTA-BOY KANBAATAR .. WHAT’S A LITTLE RAIN TO WE MONGOLS !! /SIGNED YOUR ALLY/ .. CHINGGIS ..
The time has come the Walrus said to see the Sukhbaatar railway station. Below is a view looking straight at the main station. The small dark-gray colored door at the bottom left of the off-white section of the building .. believe it or not .. is the main entry door.
Walking around the station to the right you see below the back of the station. For orientation with the front of the building note the off-white section in the back that I pointed out above in the front.
Turn around to your right 180-degrees from the above view and you see the real business end of the railway station.
Immediately after I shot the above photo a locomotive arrived and ‘coupled-up’ with the above coaches.
Below is what I consider to be the very basic .. dark-green in color .. coach of the Mongolian railways.
The below plaque was on the back of the railway station. In the top section .. the bottom line .. I can clearly recognize the word Sukhbaatar spelled in Mongolian. Do you see it? CYX _ AATAP .. I don’t know how to write the Mongolian ‘b’ on my keyboard. I nearly just tried to switch to Mongolian on the keyboard and suddenly thought .. Ah-h-h-h no Kanbaatar let’s not go-there.
Below is my ‘cheat-sheet’ to myself to prove I know this tiny-bit of Mongolian. Trust me I KNOW that the odd number 5 is the Mongolian ‘b’ ..
Just drop the vertical portion of the number 5 down to the bottom of its loop as I show on the right below and you have your Mongolian ‘b’ ..
I will tell you all this : Give me about six (6) months here and I think I could go-a-long-way with their alphabet. The C = S .. the Y = U .. the P = R ..
Give me ten years in China and I wonder how far I could go with their 15,000 symbols.
The time has come the Walrus said for us to go inside of the Sukhbaatar railway station ..
Small but with all of the amenities ..
Panning to the right from the above photo ..
Turning around 180-degrees from the above photo we see the heart of the station .. The Reservations Counter ..
Turning to the right in the above photo ..
A close-up photo of the Reservations Counter ..
I waited (count them I certainly counted them) thirty-two (32) minutes for the lady in pink above to finish whatever-in-the-world she was doing. She walked away with only one (1) ticket so she was not a travel agency employee. Travel agency employees are quick and to-the-point.
The proof is in the pudding NOT in the recipe. Below is my ticket on the local train. A very basic .. yet certainly official-in-appearance .. simple piece of paper.
I paid 25,400 Mongolian Tug .. US $ 12.88 .. for the above First Class ticket to ride the local train back to Ulaanbaatar.
On-The-Other-Hand!! I paid 246,500 Mongolian Tug .. US $ 125.00 .. for my very-complex .. four-piece-ticket on the Trans-Mongolian / Siberian Express Train to ride up to Sukhbaatar from Ulaanbaatar. Is this the lesson here: Always ride South. Never ride North.
The Rest Of That Story will be found in my post dated AUG 18, 15 .. a link to which is shown previously.
Charles Swindoll’s writing about Attitude is so vital and so profound and so accurate.
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company … a church … a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is to play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude … I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you … we are in charge of our Attitudes.”
For-one-fleeting-moment I thought-to-myself : “It is a lousy day. Any photo that I snap will be lousy. I am cold and I am getting wet despite my umbrella. I have not eaten any breakfast. I think I will just go back to my room and write post cards.”
Then I thought to myself ..
“I may never again in this lifetime be back here in Sukhbaatar. If I don’t shoot some photos of this fun and very-touching sweet little railway park .. not only will none of my followers ever know about it .. I myself will have no lasting photographic memories of it. I am drinking liquids and I had a mini-Snickers food bar so I will be all-right. It’s only a light rain. ”
OH YES KANBAATAR .. WITH THAT ATTITUDE .. YOU SURE COULD HAVE RIDDEN WITH ME !! ..
ATTITUDE SEEMS ALMOST GENETIC .. I HAVE FOUND THAT I CANNOT TRAIN THIS INTO MY MEN .. AS TO THE SOUP ISSUE .. AFTER RIDING DAY AND NIGHT WITH US FOR A FEW WEEKS THAT SOUP YOU TURNED YOUR NOSE UP AT WOULD’VE TASTED PRETTY GOOD TO YOU!! / SIGNED / .. YOUR ALLY .. CHINGGIS KHAAN
NOW LET’S ALL GO BACK OUTSIDE INTO THE RAIN .. and do a photo shoot of the Railway Park in front of the station ..
In the above photo of the station .. turn 90-degrees to your right and you see the below scene ..
The entire length .. and-then-some.. of the area in front of the Sukhbaatar railway station is a beautiful and a wonderful park. Yes even-in-the-rain I can see it for what it is! Beautiful and Wonderful. In the above photo .. looking straight up the sidewalk on the right side of the photo .. is a Mongolian railway locomotive. Squint. Do you see it? It is hard-to-see so I shot you the below photos.
Below is a pretty good view of the locomotive.
There is no denying him in the below photo.
Well Hello There Mister Locomotive ..
Up-Close and Oh-So-Personal !!
You look exactly like your brother over there in front of the station coupled-up to a string-of-coaches.
Below are a few more random shots of this beautiful little Railway Park here in Sukhbaatar.
Below is the main entry to the park. You can see the railway station off to the left.
A sidewise view snapped off-to-the-right of the above photo looking back at the railway station.
A close-up of the above sign as you enter the Railway Park.
A fun playground for the children.
Looking down the walkway from the left of the above photo we see a good shot of the railway station .. the ‘orange thing’ in the ‘white cage’ on the left above and very clearly visible in the lower center below tie the above and below photos together.
A little further down the above walkway .. note the gazebo on the right side of the park strip below.
In addition to the above gazebo .. there were several other very pleasant little gazebos in the park. I showed another one close to the locomotive previously.
Below is sort of a mish-mash photo. It does show another gazebo but it also shows my hotel off to its right in the distance. Nice decorative three-globe lamps for the night.
I am at the end of this post. I am going to close it with a little GIGGLE between us. Below are two photos of the entryway sign. Can any of you prove to me positively which one is a photo of the front of the sign and which one is a photo of the back of the sign. Going back in this post and figuring it out does not count as proof.
Here is the answer and my proof. Three (3) of the non-western characters above I KNOW. And so I KNOW what they should look like just as all of you would know a proper letter B and one backwards (I am unable to show a backward letter B). This would also apply to many of our letters .. C / D/ E/ F / G / J/ K / L / N / P / R / S / Z. Reverse any of them and BINGO you KNOW they are backwards.
All of these three Mongolian letters are correct in the bottom photo and so the bottom photo is the front of the sign.
Here is my proof that I am indeed correct:
The third letter on both the top and on the bottom rows (it looks like a small r) and the seventh letter on the top row (it looks like the letter 3) and my favorite letter seventh from the right on the bottom row (my altered number 5 Mongolian letter ‘b’) are all oriented correctly.
The last letter on the bottom row is a western letter P (I know of NO reversed P in their alphabet). The first letter .. the U with a squiggly little tail pointing to the left on its bottom I do not know well enough to place money on it.
The time has come the Walrus said to get on the local Mongolian train and head South from Sukhbaatar down to Ulaanbaatar.
So the time has come to sign-off here .. to say Over And Out .. and to get busy on ..
AUG 21, 15 .. PART 2 .. A TRAIN RIDE ON A ‘LOCAL’ MONGOLIAN TRAIN ..
With no further Adieu .. Over And Out .. Kanbaatar ..
Good Lord I completely forgot ..
The Rest Of The Story .. and it is sweet !!
Just down-the-street from my hotel .. in addition to the convenience-store in my hotel .. is another convenience-store. Below is a photo of it.
This convenience-store is owned and operated by the mother of a young lady named Anu.
Here is one absolute positive truth. When someone speaks absolutely perfect incredibly flawless English all of us from the U.S. can tell instantly. They speak with such fluidity that their words and the common phrases .. the colloquialisms (informal and familiar phrases) just roll-off-their-tongues. In a word .. they speak PERFECT ENGLISH !!
ANOTHER GIGGLE .. I HAD MIS-SPELLED COLLOQUIALISMS SO BADLY THAT MY BUDDY DICTIONARY.COM TOOK A NOTICEABLY LONGER TIME TO FIND IT FOR ME !!
In fact Adu spoke such ABSOLUTELY PERFECTLY FLUENT ENGLISH that I took my Mongolian buddy Nymaa into the store with me to act as a translator between the two of us.
Somewhat confused about what Nymaa was talking about .. as an excellent translator .. although puzzled Anu with a somewhat quizzical look on her face said verbatim ..
“Cap he is talking about a step 4 and a step 5 meeting this evening.”
I smiled and said .. “Thanks Anu I understand.”
We are in Sukhbaatar in Northern Mongolia. We are a very few miles from the International Border with Russia. Have you all got it? Do you all need a map? The top balloon to the left points to the Russian – Mongolian International Border. The lower balloon points to Sukhbaatar ..
“What’s that you say Miss Mongolia?” .. “Kanbaatar were you ever in the United States Marine Corps? You are an absolutely exceptional practitioner of The Mongolian Educational Technique. I can hardly believe it Kanbaatar!” /SIGNED/ .. MISS MONGOLIA .. “Semper Fi Miss Mongolia.”
And NOW .. The Rest Of The Story .. May you forever rest-in-peace you wonderful and amazing man Mister Paul Harvey !!
“Anu you speak the best English I have ever heard here in Mongolia. Anu your English is absolutely perfect. I am speechless Anu.”
“Cap .. When I was 15-years old my mother sent me to live in Iowa so I could learn English. I lived in Iowa for two years and then moved to Washington State where I finished High School. I am now in my third year at the University of Nebraska Omaha Branch working on my Degree in International Studies. I am leaving tomorrow to return to Omaha for the fall semester. My friends in the United States know me as Ann.”
Just writing these words is making me a little teary. Anu my dear Anu .. You have the brightest of futures before you! God Rest and Good Wishes!!
Whew Huh? Anu I feel so humble to have been so deeply touched by you .. Cap ..
Please remember that Part 2 of this post awaits you below .. Patti just said that you all will need to rest for a moment-or-two before you go down to Part 2 ..
- AUG 21, 15 .. PART 2 .. A TRAIN RIDE ON A ‘LOCAL’ MONGOLIAN TRAIN ..
- AUG 24, 15 .. DEUCES AND JACKS ..