Yoga is good for more than a couple of things but I won’t go into details now. There are thousands or articles, studies you can read in the topic. Only a few funny things I experienced during my recent 30-hour journey to Mongolia that I believe is due to having been practicing yoga for a while. One major thing about yoga – Once you start doing it and find the right teachers (the latter is not too difficult it took only 10 years in my case) it will squeeze you, swallow you, digest you then spit you out in a slightly upgraded version. It hurts at times.
But back to my travel… I boarded my first flight in Budapest and landed in Frankfurt where a 6-hour wait followed before I could depart for Beijing. That flight was a nearly 10-hour journey with Lufthansa. And here come the benefits of yoga. By now I am able to sit calmly (relatively) wherever I have to. Two young guys sitting next to me watched with a little envy when I pulled myself up just to sit back comfortably cross-legged, back straight, while they suffered with not being able to place their legs and all their belongings without pain in the narrow chairs. Not hitting the guy in front of me who pushed his chair’s back into my face despite asking him not to do that several times is also an achievement. This long flight was a dream compared to what waited for me with Air China even though that was only a 2.5 hours long journey. By then I have been looking forward to landing in Ulaanbaatar where not one but two people (not knowing each other) came to pick me up and drive me to my accommodation. I have been staying in this hostel twice before so it feels like coming home but I have never had the luxury of having a full room all to myself. I even have a real piano! and a Chelsea flag on the wall. I am feeling like a VIP. Even my suitcase was carried to my room.
I promised someone I would tell what I am doing here this time, why I came. The short answer is that I came because I deserve it. But read the longer answer then if you are interested… An opportunity came up to attend a summer course intended for young Mongolists. I am not sure if I qualify with my birth date but regardless I applied and I was invited to attend the 2-week course. This will include a week on the countryside and one week in the capital with different programmes and lectures. It’s a treat for me, really. I have a strong background in Mongolian studies but it’s always good to be on the field especially that we don’t have much opportunity to speak and use Mongolian in Europe. When I come to Mongolia I always stay for months though. As I see it to travel this distance is worthy only if you spend more time here than a simple tourist trip. Well, it’s true for every country. Therefore I decided to extend my stay with 2 more weeks on my own expenses to include a short field-work too and to make time to catch up with old friends, teachers and those too whom I could be in touch with only via emails so far.
After a long sleep I went out for a little shopping and it’s obvious that lots changed since my last visit. But it’s still familiar and it always feels like some kind of magic that I walk the streets as if I was home. I have the same feeling in London. Despite having been lived there for years I cannot get used to the wonder of feeling home in a foreign country.
Later today we went to a park a bit off the centre that I have seen only in its infancy a few years ago and took a bike ride. It was hot and humid even after 8pm but the view of the mountains in the background compensated for it.
The internet connection is reduced to the corridor, at least on my floor, so we look funny sitting on chairs in front of the doors hoping for the best. Next time I will try to share a couple of photos too, maybe from a café.