Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Aug 10: Binder Soum

The credit union office
Driving on the river...with no bridge!
A swim after a hot day at the office
We got up to an amazing sunny and hot day and attempted to get ready. No towels and a small basin with a trickle of water was all we had to work with. No problem, we made it work and still dressed up in our near-best work duty clothes. I was told that later in the day Nassa will take us men to the river for a bath;.maybe we did’t do as well as we thought in cleaning ourselves up. I have resorted to using my t-shirts as a towel so hopefully he can supply one or I’m going to run out of clothes fast. Interesting how we take the simple things in life for granted.

It is blistering hot outside all day and we basically worked most of the day in a small office space with seven people. No fan, no air conditioning, just a small window circulating the hot air. I was really looking forward to the river. It takes a long time to get the history of the credit union and to clarify the financial statements. Every question we ask has to be repeated back through our interpreter. Then a discussion occurs between the employees and then our interpreter responds. This went on until about 2 pm. We stopped for lunch and I was looking forward to getting outside. No chance, our lunch was served in our room. Interestingly the hotel and credit union are in the same building so we never have to go very far. On the back side is the kitchen and small bar. No running water.

I asked to have a tour of Binder Soum after lunch. Many of the gers are not in town at this time of year, so the village looks a bit sparse with wooden huts and leftover Soviet large concrete box buildings. The horses and cows roam freely through town and roads are made by driving through any passable area. It looks like a small organized town centre is developing in the area of the credit union. Some new structures are getting built. The village acts as an outpost for supplies for the surrounding countryside and in winter the herders come with their gers and fill up the village.

We end our day around 6ish and go to the river. The Onon shores are now filled with people swimming, washing clothes and just socializing. We find our spot and go in for a cool swim. The current actually moves pretty well so you have to try to keep yourself from drifting downstream. A tractor pulls trucks across the river as no bridge has ever been build on the river in any direction. It costs about $3 to get your motorbike across and $15 for your car. It’s deep enough to make a small truck float away so it’s quite the sight to see the river-driving in action.

-- Bruno Dragani

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