26 August 2007

Week 1 Recap!

Posted by JonHaley under: Mongolia .

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 getting into town and the general scene, then I’ll fill in some details on some of the other activities I’ve been doing.

Left on Wednesday, August 15th, flew to London to check out the VSO Head Office and get up to speed on the type of IT stuff they use and their basic setups and such. Didn’t have a whole lot of time to kick it in jolly olde England, but I got some walking around done in the Putney neighborhood where I was staying and in the “West-end”. Saw the giant ferris wheel thing, the big clock, the Trafalgar square, and rode around on the Tube. Didn’t give it much of a chance because I was their for such a short time but overall I found it very international, mindbogglingly expensive (Subway for like $16!), and not charmingly/redeemingly English enough. I’ll definitely have to go back and look around outside the city.

The rest of the flight plan is as displayed with this nifty map I got:

gcmap

 

FROM: TO: HEADING: DISTANCE:
YVR (49°11’38″N 123°11’04″W)DUS (51°17’22″N 06°46’00″E)30°(NE)7901 km
DUS (51°17’22″N 06°46’00″E)LHR (51°28’39″N 00°27’41″W)275°(W)503 km
LHR (51°28’39″N 00°27’41″W)SVO (55°58’22″N 37°24’53″E)63°(NE)2516 km
SVO (55°58’22″N 37°24’53″E)OVB (55°00’45″N 82°39’02″E)73°(E)2810 km
OVB (55°00’45″N 82°39’02″E)ULN (47°50’35″N 106°46’00″E)105°(E)1845 km

5 segment path: Total Distance 15575 km

Moscow had by far the scariest airport I’ve ever seen, and generally felt uneasy during my two hours there, on the other hand I imagine the airport is not the highlight of the entire country and it’s a place I’d like to check out in the future.

Got in to UB at around 7:30 am on Sunday, August 19 and was immediately struck by how much more awesome their airport was than Moscow’s. It was uncharacteristically raining, but everything was looking a little greener as a result.

From the airport I got to the “guest house” (old crumbling apartment, but pretty damn posh relative to other places out there.) I’ll be staying in the apt with 5 other newly arrived volunteers (six more are in another building). It’s near the VSO Mongolia Program Office where I’ll be working for the first few months doing mainly web development for VSO itself. The rest of the volunteers and I are staying temporarily in the guest house while we get language training (3 hours a day for 5 weeks), and get up to speed on things. Afterwards will be split up and move to the neighborhoods or towns where we’ll be working, though most people are staying in UB city, like me.

The other volunteers are mainly youngish (mid-late 20s) and British with the exception of one Filipino and myself the lone new Canadian. There are also about 10-15 volunteers already here who arrived either in February or last year in August.

The VSO guys have a pretty intense schedule of fieldtrips, lessons, and cultural things line up for us and in general it all feels quite sheltered and easy. Not the “thrown into the deepest backwater and left on your own” experience I was sort of hoping for. I’ll relate some more of these things later on this week, and please ask me for some details on stuff you are interested in. I haven’t yet figured out a way to let people post anonymous or private comments but I’m looking into that.

2 Comments so far...

Mark Haley Says:

27 August 2007 at 7:18 am.

Opps i sent of my message without signing off. Nemaphis is a D. J. from Mexico= and talented @ that. We are helping his communication cause.The focus on the Labour day gig will also be “workers Rights” = minimal wages, over time, contracts, benefits,dental packages,safety and more saftey, etc.We want the best for you kids(youth) and fairness and health for all workers/ GLOBALLY? WORKERS UNITE !!
Provincial Summer School is coming up Aug. 25- 26. I wanted to go, Oh it’s gone, I did not make it. But i would of LOVED to do the sessions on Peace and Solidarity and The Women’s Movement .Maybe next summer.Brigid went and will share with us. The hype for canadians to join the army has increased around here.Recruiters promise young natives $3ooo. to do a program called Bold Eagle ,a summer military program,”no commitments”=right?! , free transportation to Wainwright ,Alberta and,free meals,free army gear, free uniform ,etc. Not even i would want that stuff for free,anyways big promo. Deadly Shit. Thank Goddess you chose to travel the world and see the people with out killing them!!Not that you ever considered joining the army, just that they make it financially appealing for vulnerable youth.
Live Simple, Stamp out Poverty. Love to you Jon and Cheers with all the Fine Work you do and the caring people who do it with you. Amber and tribe

Eve Says:

27 August 2007 at 11:26 am.

Jono, un-friggen-believable, i wake up in the morning and think, what?! my brother’s in mongolia?!? what the heck?!? the photos are great, it’s a lot greener than i expected it to be. awesome gers! send some pics of the apartment and more of people. whatcha eating?!
well i’ve decided to head off to do more hippie research in the wonderful world of organic farms somewhere in the kootenays or gulf islands…maybe not as cool as volunteering in mongolia…but makes sense at the moment.
super proud of you.
love eve

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