Mongolian Kitsch Back Online

I’ve been meaning to put my blog from my time in Mongolia back online. Unfortunately, this took longer to patch together than anticipated which is part of the reason for my blogstipation of late. Anyways it’s now up for anyone who is interested, minus a few of the photos and formatting I wasn’t able to reproduce.

I spent about a year (August 2007 – June 2008) living in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar as a VSO volunteer working on IT and website projects for various local partner NGOs. I’ve been thinking fondly about the experience often as I am now in Ghana trying to make the most of things. Though it wasn’t alway easy or fun I’m (re)realizing what an amazing, profound and extremely fortunate opportunity it was to live there.

Highlights include:

  • Encountering a huge herd of thousands of sheep and yaks outside of Hustai Park
  • Visiting the quaint second city of Darkhan
  • My short lived career as a Mongolian runway model
  • The Eagle Festival
  • Clubbing in Mongolia
  • Visiting the other planet that is the Gobi Desert
  • My short trips to China and India

Lost Gobi Pictures

Gobi pics for Ruth 045.jpgI’ve been back for 5 months now and, for the most part, I’ve forgotten about this blog. I still have another year of hosting left, however, and there seems to be at least a few hits per day so I […]


YHH June 29 Program

This is the major event my younger brother is organizing in South India. See India Post. I’ve been helping out with media and computer work. The links are yhh.futureindia {at symbol} and

It’s a Wrap!

Gobi pics for Ruth 197.jpgI’ve been back in Canada for a few days now, but I thought I should put on a closer post before everything gets mixed up again. (I’m still waiting for some photos from my Gobi trip, which I’ll post as […]



From May 7th to May 18th I went to India mainly to visit my younger brother, Manoj and see what he was doing. It was a ridiculously short trip and I didn’t make it very far from the medium sized city of Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu (South India, a […]

Wrapping Up Work

“Whoa that’s awesome Jon, you’re going to write about how you spend all your time sitting at a desk staring at a computer while rarely updating the photos and posts with cool stuff about Mongolia, which is really why I am here”. Well believe me I don’t […]

French Graffiti/Mongol Wrestling

Keepin’er fresh! If not always consistent or relevant. I’ve only got another month and a half out here so I’ll forgo any formality and start throwing up a bunch of random posts as they happen. Here are two: […]

Volunteer Model…

…But not model volunteer. Here’s one for the WTF! Mongolia category. Another volunteer, Clare, who works at a university for fiber-arts and fashion, invited me and a few of the other volunteers to be models for the school’s annual fashion show. Apparently, they only wanted men as the women had many more costume changes to […]


I must have heard this song at least once a day on average over the past month and a half, it’s got to be the number one, but I’m not sure if there’s an official chart out here. Mongolian music (to me decidedly a misinformed foreigner) seems to fall into one of a few categories: […]

Hacksin’ at the “Military Rest Center”

The last post was super long and boring, so to appease my burgeoning audience of Finnish and Brazilian based viewers who reach my site with such inexplicable keyword searchs as “world largest rock concert” and “santiago de cuba“, I’ve posted some pix of a place I stayed at in the pseudo-countryside last weekend. Nothing too […]

6 Months Down, 3 Bonus Months to Go

A few days back was my 6 month anniversary of being in UB, FUNgolia, and it sort of passed without any explanation. This should be the end of my short-term NetCorps volunteer placement, but earlier in February I put in a request to extend for an extra three months and VSO was happy to have […]

Eagle Fest

What better way to add some excitement to the painful plodding pace of winter than to throw a good old fashion Kazak Eagle Festival? (Mongolian’s are all about animals and festivals. You name it, camel, yak, reindeer, eagle, antelope, etc., and it’s got its own festival at some point in the year). Last weekend it […]

In the Heart of the Nine Nines

A subject of anthropological and cultural, as well as environmental concern that I’ve yet to fully address is the fact that it is freakin’ cold out here. Not that that should come as a surprise to me or anybody else, and to be honest it’s pretty manageable. In fact I only mention it now because […]

Beijing: Up & Down

It’s been a while! I just got back from a week and a half in Beijing, so I thought I should break that down for ya. Left on the 20th of December and just got back yesterday; saw some amazing stuff, and definitely gained a lot more insight into the city, the people, and the […]

At the Rock Show

IMGP5467.JPG After having missed the biggest Mongolian Hip Hop show of the year in late September and just recently having missed a chance to see the legendary “Chinggis Khaan” (the biggest band in Mongolian for going on 20 years) play live, I got my fix Saturday night at the […]


Midnight Train to Darkhan

Not exactly riveting stuff, but I took another trip outside the capital last weekend and got to see a few new things and had some interesting experiences. Here’s the report: This weekend was long due to Mongolian Independence Day on Monday, so me and a few others lost no time in getting out of the […]

Some Recent Happenings

IMGP5098.JPG Halloween – After a slow start Halloween turn out alright, 2 weeks ago. Cumulating in two pretty good house parties (one with VSOs and one with PeaceCorps/Americans), a few costumes and even some practical jocularity! Spreading the message of Halloween to the Mongolian population was something I feel […]


What is it, exactly, that I do out here?

Bit of a downer last time, but the basic idea is that I’ve been brought over here at great expense and effort. Now I’m living in a comfortable apartment, consuming resources and taking up space. So, what exactly am I doing here? What work am I doing that couldn’t be done by a Mongolian or […]

Missing Missives

Extra-narrative Aside: Had some site issues last week, for which I apologize. My super-budget Italian web hosting company (“Largo Magnifico“) basically took a little holiday, unbeknownst to me. But were gettin’ her back together, slowly. While the technical troubles might be excusable my “blogastipation” as of late is largely my own fault. It stems more […]

Hustai Park

Took another rip out to the country last Saturday. It had been a few weeks since I’d been out of the city and I was totally feigning for some air that doesn’t taste like I’m living in a giant campfire. This trip was out to Hustai Park, about 90 miles due west of UB (3hrs […]

New Digs/The 9to5

Moved into my new, permanent apartment a few weeks back. Nice spot, pretty central, good neigborhood, lot’s of shops, bus route, etc. It’s your typical pink Russian monolith from the 60s; curves around in kind of an L-shape that appears to […]

One Month In/Homestay/Bogd Khaan/Countryside3

1st month down, can’t say whether it went particularly fast or slow; some things are a blur. others are in painful detail. Lifestyle was not sustainable–too much drinking, eating out and general errors in judgment–but that’s okay for the first month. Done my 5 week language course; can’t really do much with it, but I […]

BYOBuuz!/Smoozin’ at the British Embassy/Countryside2

As things are starting to blur and turn into the selective, indeterminate memories of life, I’m just going to relate some of the big events over the past week(s). Also, since no one is able to corroborate the accuracy of the details, you will all just have to except them as fact, (or at least […]

Week 2 Retrospection

Internet’s been a little flaky at the VSO office where I do most stuff, but that’s hardly an excuse due to the preponderance of cheap internet cafes in the area. Aw well. Everything still all good, a little more chill this week than it was the first week. […]

Tumen Ekh National Song & Dance Ensemble

This is a bit out of date as it happened last week sometime, but we went out to see this pre-packaged variety style show of traditional Mongolian songs, dance, contortionist, and a few other odd and ends thrown in. It was obviously focused on tourists as everything was super short and to the point. I […]

Terelj National Park Outside UB

Immediately after arriving in Mongolia, I went out with the group to this park east of Ulaanbaatar. It wasn’t exactly the “real” countryside with nomadic people and the bit, but it was definitely sweet to get out and do something so soon after arriving. The park seemed to be filled with a lot of […]

Week 1 Recap!

Whoa, super intense week over all feels like I’ve been gone for months. There’s basically too much to absorb, process, and relate back to you, so things will be about a week or so behind until I get bored and have time on my hands like in the winter. This one will just be about […]

Quick note to let you all know I made it..

I got in yesterday and did a trip out to the country. Everythings super sweet so far and I’m havin a great time. I’ve got some pix and stuff I’ll throw up tomorrow once I get myself organized. Use the RSS links so you can be alerted when something happens. Jon.

First Post

Site is up and running as of August 6, lots more content to be added over next little while, but you get the basic idea of how things look.


3 Replies to “Mongolian Kitsch Back Online”

  1. Really great to see all your thoughts and photos from Mongolia – it was a really amazing time no? I certainly had some great memories to take home (and also still have the “community deel” in my wardrobe). I enjoyed the trip down memory lane through your blog, thanks for taking the time to re-post them. Hope you are having a great time and that you have some nice plans for the Christmas/New Year season. Take care of yourself and keep the blog posts coming when you have a moment!

    1. Yeah fir sure Robbie, I’ve been coming back to my Mongolian experience quite often as I adjust to life here in Ghana. It’s really amazing how memories gel into something quite removed from the reality if the situation. I seem time only remember the good parts of everything!

      1. Yes, it’s for that reason I’m a bit hesitant to go back to Mongolia and see how much it has changed (seems like Gucci and Prada have replaced some of the shops in the Ih Delguur). Hope you had a great Christmas and that 2014 will bring lots of good, fulfilling and happy moments to you. Take care of yourself,


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