SEP 18, 15 .. MONGOLIAN IMMIGRATION .. МОНГОЛЫН цагаачлалын ..

Mongolians .. Mongolians .. Mongolians everywhere I turn ..

Монголчууд.. Монголчууд.. Монголчууд хаа сайгүй би эргэж..

Captain you are IN Mongolia .. Who on earth do you expect to be seeing? Maybe a crowd of Australian Aborigines ..

What on earth do all of these Mongolians know that I don’t know? A very respectable number of the locals are wearing coats and jackets and sweaters and hooded sweatshirts and hats and caps and are beginning to ‘bundle up’ a little.

Good Grief Captain .. It has been 28F the last two mornings. The Mongolians KNOW that Autumn is here and winter is not too far behind. I discovered this morning when I went for a short jaunt to the grocery store wearing far less clothing than anyone else on the street that the wind-chill from a very brisk wind blew right through me and made the 28F feel a lot colder than it is.

Here is why I love to be learning just a teeny-weeny bit of the Mongolian alphabet .. Which one is upright and which one is upside-down?


Because of my intense interest in their alphabet I know in the above photo which one is upright and which one is upside-down. None of my things want to be upside-down.

Patti knows which one is upright and which one is upside-down in the above photo! Do all of you remember my little lesson about Darkhan?


Take our letter ..then place it on a small stool with two tiny vertical legs .. and you have Дархан .. and this solves the above mystery. The one on the right above is properly oriented. Do you see its letter Д .. that is a Mongolian letter .. is properly oriented. Each of the three ‘odd’ number 3’s and my ‘altered’ number 5 that is a Mongolian ‘b’ as in ‘bee’ are also facing correctly.


I know .. I know .. Captain .. The Dinkey Bird Is Singing In The Amfalula Tree ..

In an ocean, ‘way out yonder
(As all sapient people know),
Is the land of Wonder-Wander,
Whither children love to go;
It’s their playing, romping, swinging,
That give great joy to me
While the Dinkey-Bird goes singing
In the amfalula tree!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


Let me assure each of you .. When it comes to foreign countries and dealing with their laws and regulations you HAD BETTER GET SERIOUS ..

Mongolia has a law regarding visitors. As a United States citizen .. like Hong Kong .. you can enter Mongolia visa-free. However IF you wish to exceed a stay of thirty (30) days you have seven (7) business days to go to the Mongolian Immigration Office and formally register. I don’t know their policy IF someone decides after a week or two in Mongolia that they want to stay longer and thus exceed the 30-day limit.

Back in July during my first visit .. Thanks only and Thanks 100% to Changer who told me of this legal requirement .. with Changer and Happy leading me by the hand and driving me around Ulaanbaatar for visa-type photos and to the Immigration Office .. I successfully did this.

I returned to Mongolia from Hong Kong on 8 September so seven business days thereafter put me at Thursday 17 September (aka yesterday).

Not to worry .. Changer and I had a plan ..

Yesterday morning Oldokh was going to drive me to the Immigration Office and wait for me to take care of registering.

Yesterday morning I had to call Changer and tell him that ..

1. I was experiencing an issue with DIARRHEA and that there was no way that I could go out.

2. Would he please call Oldokh and tell him NOT to come and get me.

Then I got-to-thinking about this and thought to myself that the Mongolian Immigration Office was not going to be pleased with me IF I were to fail to meet the seven business day time deadline. “Sir have you been sick since you arrived on 8 September?”

I got on-line and found a map that showed me where the Immigration Office is located.

The Immigration Office LOWER LEFT BALLOON is not too far from the Chinggis Khaan Airport. I live at the CENTER BALLOON. The heart of downtown Ulaanbaatar is at the RIGHT BALLOON.


“I can DO THIS.” I decided to myself. All I have to do is ..

1.  Go downtown (which I do almost daily) ..

2.  Find the airport bus ..

3.  Go to the airport and then ask-around about the Immigration Office. I set out at 2PM.

Pantomime .. noun .. The art or technique of conveying information by gestures without speech.

Pantomiming (both arms straight out like an airplane .. the airport ..) I found the proper bus stop.


It is positively amazing to me how very few people speak any English at all. The heart of downtown is about a ten minute walk straight ahead up the street above.

In the below name of the bus stop .. you will notice the first and the last letters are my altered number 5 buddies! Further below you will see a map that shows each of the stops by name.


Then with more pantomiming I found out that I wanted a number 7 bus. You would all howl-with-glee to see me doing-my-thing trying to make-myself-understood. Both arms out .. airplane .. airport .. bus ??


I have no clue as to what the odd Y-looking letter is to the left of the 7 .. No doubt it must stand for number ..


A number 58 bus. The confusing thing is the bus numbers vary in location and format .. The Y letter is there however ..


A number 8 bus ..


Below the Y looks more like a number 4 to me ..


I must tell you all that even though I cannot understand the words .. I can see how extremely well organized the bus system is.


On the back-side of the bus stop are mini-maps of the routes of the seven different buses that stop at this stop ..


FURTHER on the sides of most of the buses are the above mini-maps of the route of that bus! The below map shows the route of my number 7 bus.


IF I could read Mongolian I would see that the number 7 bus goes to the airport ..


In the above close-up you can clearly see the names of each of the bus stops.

So out and off I went on the number 7. As we got into the vicinity of the airport I asked the driver about the Immigration Office. LUCKILY he understood.

He did NOT say the below. HE very successfully pantomimed the below ‘words’ to me ..

“We have gone past the stop (He pointed back over his shoulder smiling broadly) .. Stay aboard until the end of the line (he motioned up-and-down to the floor of the bus using the palms of his hands with all fingers spread apart) .. I will help you (was understood my me).”

I did (stayed put) .. He did .. he ran to an outgoing bus and told that driver to let me off near the Immigration Office.

LUCKILY .. 100% because of my trip there in July with Changer and with Happy .. I KNEW the building I was looking for.


I would estimate the walk was perhaps a quarter-mile from the bus stop.  The round building on the left of the Immigration Office is a sports stadium.


The Immigration Office is stunningly spotless .. Just look at it with the blue-sky background ..


A really ‘nifty’ map of Mongolia and of the routes of Chinggis Khaan’s Armies is inside ..




On a zero to ten my experience was off-the-chart .. all of the staff were friendly and courteous and spoke English ..

1. I had been here and I had done this .. I had pens and a ruler and all that I needed .. I had addresses and phone numbers and formal business cards for Changer (who I list as the friend that I am visiting) and for Happy (because I am living in his property) .. To quote the U.S. Marine Corps .. I WAS ‘SQUARED AWAY’ ..

2. I had my photo ready to go .. recent .. color with plain background .. proper size .. glue to stick it to the form ..

3. I knew where to purchase the form (1,000 Mongolian Tug or US$ 0.50) ..

4. I had a copy of my passport in hand .. and I knew to write a letter on the blank back of the sheet explaining what I was doing in Mongolia and when I was leaving ..

5. I knew where to get a number to join the queue ..

6. The processing system was faster than I was since I was not ready when my number was called because I was still filling out the front and back of the form. They let me into the queue when the next opening occurred ..

I was in and I was out in no more than one hour ..

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 

Do any of you recall that I had to call Changer and tell him that I could not go with Oldokh because I was having problems with DIARRHEA !!

And now ..


How on earth could I go out .. Go downtown .. Find the proper bus stop and bus .. Ride for 30 to 40 minutes each way literally trapped-on-a-bus .. Do my business .. all of which took from 2-1/2 to 3 hours .. with the very real threat of an episode of DIARRHEA happening ??  When I left at 2PM the diarrhea had lessened but was still a very real threat.

I have been there and I have done this for 24 count-them-years!! .. Starting with my first ever trip to India in November of 1990 .. and more than several times thereafter .. while experiencing diarrhea I have had to get to doctors and then find my way to specimen clinics .. etc et al .. On one of my recent trips in India .. in the middle of the night .. I had a major diarrhea episode in the upper berth on a train. The odor .. The mess .. Horrible. I spent two hours .. in the dark of the night cleaning things and myself up in the tiny train bathroom. THE REST OF THAT STORY .. I had a pad with me for this exact emergency and failed to use it!

Below is my local supermarket .. It rivals Wal-Mart in its own way ..


It has aisles and it has more aisles .. in fact it has two floors ..


Have any of you seen aisles like the below in almost every major drugstore and grocery store there in the U.S. ?


Adult absorbent products ..




Look more closely at the below photo. On the fourth shelf up from the floor .. to the right between the seni and the green packaged Depends .. they actually have small sample-packages of one or two pads. These I have shown above.


I am not one bit embarrassed to share this with you.

Once I had a bad case of diarrhea and I had to board the 15-hour flight from Hong Kong back to the United States.  That time .. to get two pads .. I had to purchase a full package of sixteen. Countless times over the years vastly experienced world travelers I have met have shared their similar stories.

What Are YOU Going To Do in the same situation ??


And THAT ..


Smiles .. Kanbaatar .. Should I make Kanbaatar into two words ? Kan (Cap) Baatar (The Warrior) ..

4 thoughts on “SEP 18, 15 .. MONGOLIAN IMMIGRATION .. МОНГОЛЫН цагаачлалын ..

  1. Patti

    That Google is multi-lingual boggles my mind, and that you can get the Mongolian letters at the stroke of a key is … well, mind boggling. Loved your explanation of communicating with gestures and body language … it got you on the right bus to the airport … nice, helpful bus driver … it got you to the lovely Immigration building … it got you through your necessary process of fulfilling the requirement to “register” if staying in the country longer than 30 days. SUCCESS. And, the “products” that are available … better safe than sorry! By the way, I love, love, love it when you put in maps. Hugs. Patti

    1. cap chastain

      Oh YES the maps are just the greatest aren’t they! Yet again another Hip Hip Hip Hooray for Andrej. Not to date myself .. did you play the game .. Charades .. when you were in High School in California .. or was that not hip-slick-and-cool? I sure can recall doing so. Maybe my experience helped me yesterday. I can remember the player doing the pantomiming would just get so frustrated when they could not express themselves to the others trying to guess what they were trying to express. Love .. Cap ..

  2. Patti

    Definitely did the game charades in California … it was always so funny when the person doing the “acting out” was SO sure he or she was being obvious with their actions … and the guessers were without a clue! Smiles … Patti

  3. Shaddy Peters

    My brain is often fried by the time I get here. I can go though a post, arrive at the comment box and not have a clue what I just read and saw. This evening, the main thing I remember is the adult DIAPERS you found. Thank God for such products. When you’re traveling, there’s often not time for diarrhea episodes and other such nonsense.

    I’m not embarrassed by such subjects either. We’re just talking the basics of life as senior citizens.

    Grinning this time,

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