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Celebrating the 4th of July in Mongolia

July 13, 2011

Group shot of the 4th volunteers and organizers

 

On July 2nd the American expat community in Mongolia organized, and held, an afternoon BBQ and celebration to commemorate the USA’s 235th birthday (despite our banner proclaiming it to be the 234th).  It was held on the 2nd as it was a Saturday and naturally all of us would be at work on Monday the 4th.  The event was organized by a 14 year Mongolian vet Brigitte Cummings, a well known/infamous character in the expat community and a polarizing figure (due mainly to her not being afraid to speak her mind), and held at the Blue Sky Resort which is surrounded by its own rumors of controversy stemming from shady, preferential real estate dealings involving the former Mongolian President.

 

The resort is 12 km (most of it by dirt road) south and east of the city and is the country’s first ski hill (inaugural season winter ’11) with a golf course under construction at the base (the county’s 2nd course).  We’re getting pretty high class out in these parts!  The day consisted of burgers, brats, 25+ kgs of potato salad, sodas, beers, football (both kinds) and lots of sun under the Mongolian sky and ski towers.

The wind didn't cooperate much for this shot

The hungry crowd consisted of embassy folks (from several countries), volunteers, Peace Corps, miners and bankers, Mongolians, Canadians, Australians and more.  I spent most of the day on the grill and estimate we served up northwards of 200 burgers and close to that number of brats.

Music wise this was by far the most patriotic 4th of July I had ever experienced with a play list full of marine band renditions mixed with contemporary artists and songs with patriotic connotations.  An expat from Utah even sang the full version of the National Anthem; there’s three verses, who knew?

Grillin' on the 4th

After the BBQ wrapped up the day finished in an almost surreal manner with a volunteer dinner at a restaurant owned and operated by the North Korean government (not sure that was a great patriotic choice to patronize…) and then fireworks later that night.  The fireworks naturally had nothing to do with the 4th of July and I still have no idea what they were for or who put on the show.  But it was a great coincidence of timing and I enjoyed them none the less for being intended for a different audience.

4th of July dinner at NoKo

A little fire with your food never hurts the festive atmosphere.  I hope everyone back in the US had an excellent and enjoyable 4th of July holiday.  Cheers from Mongolia!

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From → Mongolia, Travel

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