What makes the most of a travel, besides looking for evasion and a complete change of scene, it is the personal enrichment gained through the cultural exchanges and human relationship. It is then not surprising when you venture in a new country, to note with a fresh approach, new habits and customs. Here comes a few examples… smile guaranteed !
The Mongolian dummy
This little object given to comfort babies and make them stop crying, has been playing a specific role not only in the child’s development, but also in the parents life, who can for their sake rest in peace.
The numerous retail chains have penetrated our lives to make us dependent of all this baby artillery, artifacts of the 21st century, making us forgetting the simple things. Let’s take example on our Mongolian friends, who not only live deep in the steppes, away from that commercial cacophony, where baby grows in simplicity and plays with anything.
It is in the yurt that baby grows, sucking a little piece of the mutton fat, considered nourishing and beneficial for its growth. Sounds yummy no?
Gengis Khan’s veneration
Do you picture an Energy drink called Kennedy, or even a movie theater under the name of Margareth Thatcher? Well, you might be surprised to get beers, energy drinks, hotels, places and even an airport named under the king of all times. Since described as the king of the world and his time, no doubt you’ve guessed who I am talking about: Gengis Khan. The adoration given to this famous character, proves the pride of the Mongolian people for his masterstrokes. Thus, when you will visit us, you will land at the international airport Gengis khan, then visit the main square Gengis Khan, where you will enjoy a refreshing local beer…Gengis Khan.
A debate was in process a few years ago regarding the excessive use of the name for commercial purposes. The parliament was discussing about a law to license the use of the name and his image.
The vodka ritual
It is a fact, vodka flows everywhere in the eastern countries. Hence I write this little description towards the people having a low tolerance for this brewage and plan to visit the country. You must know that vodka, besides airag
(fermented mare milk), is the beverage by excellence for Mongolians. The usage wants to serve a glass of vodka to welcome guests. At the first sip, you are proud of yourself for having survived to the first shot. But you will gradually understand that you cannot escape the second and third ones. In fact here it is the rule of third. First, the eldest of you will be served, and the glass will go three times around the table, with a regular filling up. Indeed, you musn’t give a miss to this. Regarding the ladies, the only way to escape it would be to pretend to be pregnant, at the risk of creating confusion among your relatives!
I got the opportunity to attend a Mongolian wedding party, for which usually friends visit the just-married couple house to celebrate the joyful event. Despite the flow of food served, I have to admit I have never drunken Martini that much of my life. In fact, as soon as your glass gets empty, expect being served again and again. Conviviality is at most, through sharing and the good mood generated. That is the traditionally warm welcome of Mongolia.
Boodog: the traditional Mongolian barbecue
As soon as the word barbecue comes out, you may think about the summertime grills. Well, don’t be so sure, here the perspective is different.
As mentioned in our Mongolian guide, there are 2 sorts of barbecues Khorkhog and boodog
. Let me depict the second one, according to my recent experience. Autumn season is the period of the year to eat marmot. If you visit us from mid-September there are high chances for you to get a taste of it while you are visiting our nomadic families. Cooked in a traditional way, which implies to take out first the guts, and stuff the animals with veggies and pieces of meat. At each levels, warm stones are added to cook the meat from the inside, giving hence a smoky delicious taste. Patience is required before enjoying the meal an hour later.
You will be told to keep the warm stones in your hands, once the cooking finished, since the hot released from them would be good for your health.
Mongolia is full of surprises, and here came only a few examples of what you could expect during your stay.
The best way to experience it, is to give it a try. So, don't be shy and enjoy!