Thursday, April 03, 2008
After four days without cold water in the WC and Bathroom, I approached our concierge (жижур) on returning home at 9pm, and she reported same to the council (өнөр хотхон) immediately, using my 'hand-phone' (гар утас). I was amazed to have a plumber (looking rather like Robert de Niro's Harry Tuttle in the movie Brazil) ringing the doorbell at 10pm as I lay in the bath. The following morning he returned, earlier than promised, with a colleague. They replaced a valve, completely blocked with dirt, for the agreed 10 000 togrogs.
As I walked up the hill through Khangai Ger district to work in the morning, a girl stretched out on the roof of her ger smiled at me, her brown back exposed to the morning sun, cleaning the ger roof window with a damp cloth, and for a brief moment, I enjoyed the contrast of the scene set against the industrial backdrop of the factories to the south. There was a queue gathering at the water kiosk next to жаргалант оч цэцэрлэг (Kindergarten), a woman at the head of the line wore a bright blue дээл (Mongolian deel coat) over mismatching pyjama trousers, and others waited with plastic jerry cans on water carrier trolleys. Boys with their full water containers laughed as they ran down hill. I stepped over two discarded syringes on the dirt road as I passed a dumping site near the back of the Trolleybus depot. Somebody meekly said 'Hi' or "саин баин уу" as I passed a shop, where a billiard table was being assembled.
At the college, the road and muddy forecourt is still flooded, reportedly from snow melt. The two mens WC cubicles in the college building are still out of service (after weeks); one blocked, the other without a door, and the female cubicles are in the same room. Burning incense makes the environment bearable.