April showers bring May flowers!
Not quite, here.
Sandstorms and snowstorms in a twelve hour period bring havoc to sinuses and traffic.
It’s springtime in Mongolia, which is not as good as it sounds, but is still better than the cold, dark winter.
Just a couple of months ago we were going to work in the dark and coming home as the sun went down. The thermometer was frozen for a few months at around -32 Celsius, and the burnt, raw coal pollution was a thick, heavy fog on most mornings. I’ve been fighting sinus infections and respiratory illnesses since November. Such is the price of coming here with healthy lungs, the doctor has told me.
It was 20 degrees Celsius last week. Today it’s -8 with 6cm of snow on the ground. This is spring in Mongolia. “Don’t be surprised if you see snow until June,” I’ve been told.
My Canadian compatriots have been all over social media for the last month whining about the same thing. That they were fortunate enough to have some warm weather in April, and then complained in epic proportions when they got a reminder that winter is not quite finished. They seem to have forgotten that they live in CANADA, a northern country where one might expect winter to keep a few surprises. I feel somehow that the Mongolians could teach the Canadians a thing or two about heartiness.
It’s been a mostly quiet winter for us. Previous posts have highlighted some of our winter activities – dogsledding in Terelj National Park, seeking out the rare Takhi in Khustain National Park, and attending high end fashion shows. I was able to order some new studio toys and have a few photo sessions, but mostly I’m just looking forward to a few projects I’ve been lining up. I’ll write more on those as they happen later.
Spring in Mongolia – life in Mongolia is not for the faint-hearted. I’ve had good days and bad days – mostly stemming from successes and frustrations at work, and adjusting to the… ahem… laidbackedness of Mongolian culture. Some days I get frustrated, and other days I have patience. For the most part I’ve continued to learn more about myself during this process, as living in foreign culture can do.
I’ve DJed semi-regularly at various clubs around Ulaanbaatar, with some hits and some misses. It can be difficult to understand the musical tastes of cultures that are not your own, and as a result, it can often be difficult to find the right venue the play the music I’d really like to play. Mongolia’s scene has heavily featured trance music in recent years, but from my own experiences, it seems to be quickly transitioning into a large demand for hip hop and pop music. In times like this, I like to offer something a little different, or I just make my own mixes to fill a void on the radar.
I’ve made some great friends, and have begun to develop a rapport with some local models.
Tseku, Bela and I have done a few shoots together, and as I meet more people here, I look forward to more interesting projects. As previously mentioned, I have a few projects lined up this spring, and hope to get them started in the coming weeks.
In the meantime… summer is coming at some point, and every day inches closer to it. We’ll be enjoying a great summer in the sun, and of course, there will be a trove of photos to come of that later. It’s been a while since I’ve done a photoshoot with my beautiful wife Maria, and I have a few fun ideas lined up for her in mid-summer.
I hope all of you are well, and are finding the will to survive the extended winter. 🙂
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