Monday, March 10, 2008

Dude, Where's Mongolia?

I've been talking a lot about Mongolia, but haven't actually given any substantial information about the country. Let me take this time to formally introduce you to the "Land of the Blue Sky." See that speck of land surrounded by Russia and China? yup, thats my home for the next 2 or so years.




A History Lesson: Wedged in between Russia and China, Mongolia have always been tied to its two neighbors. Most recently, it was part of the Soviet bloc and relied heavily on the USSR for support. But with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Mongolia's state planned economy was revamped and a new capitalistic economy is now emerging. What the future holds for the country is unknown, but the state is trying to move towards a free and open market, and the first goal in achieving that is by opening the society. And thats why folks, I will be going to Mongolia.

800 years ago, the Venetian Marco Polo traveled to the court of Kublai Khan. At that point in time, the Mongols were feared conquerors stampeding through the steppes destroying everything in their path. Today, the land in which the Mongolian inhabit is much the same, but the world is quite different. There is a noticeable difference between the city and the countryside, the stationary and the mobile. While the capital of Ulaanbaatar is a certified city, much of the country and its people still heavily rely on livestock. They move with the changing of the land, from one fertile grazing ground to the next. This is the life of a Mongolian.

Major Facts and Figures:
  • Ethnicity: 94.9% Mongols (Khalkha)
  • Religion: 50% Tibetan Buddhism
  • Language: 90% Khalkha Mongolian - Cyrillic
  • Literacy: 97.8%
  • GDP per Capita: $2,900
Fun Facts:
  • Lowest population density of any nation (3.9 people per square mile)
  • More cell phones than land lines
  • 2nd largest landlocked country in the world

36 comments:

Maryo said...

Hi Trinh, I was with Ms. Eressy, Mac and Hall the other day and we were all talking about you and how PROUD we are of what you are doing. Keep posting, I love learning.

Tri said...

Hey man!

You will be definitely living the life that I wish I could live. Too bad, I can't part myself from this hectic society, where people struggle to survive, just yet. Like you always say Trinh, "you have more endurance than all of us"..you will easily handle the cold. Plus, make sure you run in the wild with all the horses...that will keep you in shape. Oh yea, don't forget to learn some "Vo Cong" and come back and teach me.

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