Friday, 23 November 2012

Weather bug

I know you are all fascinated by the weather here.

There is a weather station on the roof that provides some information to the Mongolian weather networks and it can be accessed through

ISU Weather station

It sounds ridiculous but it was -28 when we got to school this morning with a wind chill or feels like temperature of -38 but we walked in and it was fine, a little cool but not enough to put me off contemplating a run on Sunday, the temperature does not tell the whole story with regards to the weather in this country.

"it gets a bit uncomfortable below -25" I was told when I asked about running through the winter. I didn't believe him but he's right, anything above that is really very doable and with the right kit I'd go as far as to say down to -30 would not be 'unpleasant'.

The challenge is not the cold but the conditions underfoot, still should be running on the river soon.

Never thought I'd be saying that!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Fire! Fire! Oh...just starting the car.

So we have a whole load of cars that get rugged up for the night in the car park. You can pay $50 a month to park in the heated underground car park or you can rug up your car with specially made duvets, many of which are camouflage, though who they are hiding them from I have no idea.

For the life me I couldn't see how it helped, it's -25 or lower for most of the night, even putting a duvet over your car, no matter how well fitted, was not going to trap enough heat in a cooling metal box to keep it warm enough to start in the morning was it?

Apparently it is effective to a certain extent, that and going down before breakfast to light up and kick a small paraffin burner under the car, walk away eat breakfast and when you come back an hour later all is toasty warm and good to go, at least that is what I was told. Never seen anyone do it, never seen the remains of a burner left on the ground - I was skeptical.

I was walking home from work tonight and as I approached one of the many building site entrances there was a powerful smell of cheap coal, I looked for the ger smoke stack and for other sources and could see nothing - nothing except a big old digger with a tarp covering it's engine casing, and smoke - smoke escaping from between the engine casing the tarp and the cab. There were 3 men in attendance and my camera was not within reach, so I have no proof but I swear they had lit a fire under the thing and were waiting for the diesel to melt enough to get the thing going.

So maybe the paraffin burner idea is not such a silly idea.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

An early winter walk

We got nicely rugged up and went out this afternoon, through the park and out to the river. Along the river bank, back through a housing complex. It was only -10/-12C, but the air quite literally sparkled, it was like there was fine glitter falling, all the moisture in the air was turning to ice around us, it was quite magical.

The park looks very different white.

even the new trees get rugged up

Now what left those tracks?

The river is just about frozen

 And in some places it is already frozen enough for the men to be out playing a kind of bowls, kind of curling, kind of skittles, kind of non of the above.

 Still a building site, might look a little better white but the entire place is still one big building site.

Labourers accommodation.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

oh my that was fun

It has been snowing now since Wednesday morning, fine dry powder that despite the time it's been snowing amounts to only a couple of inches. Today (Friday) is a run home day, so I did. It was interesting! We had discovered on the way to work that the sidewalks where they exist are treacherous - no body uses them unless they really have to, everyone walks on the road, where there is grip to be had. This does make for interesting times on these roads, women in tottery high heels, kids in trainers, and men and women in deels and steppe boots all sharing the road with the many 4x4's, most of which have not switched to snow tyres yet so don't exactly corner well.
My run took me across some waste ground, soon to be built on no doubt. The sun was low and the light was flat, maybe a function of the light mist of snow still falling, maybe the sun glasses weren't helping, either way it was almost impossible to pick out the undulations and each stride became something of a surprise, not knowing where or when my foot was going to touch down. I didn't fall but it was touch and go on a few occasions.
I made it through the waste ground, and back into the park where the light was so flat it was almost impossible to see anything at all. I only got to see when I was back doing the dance between road, and oncoming vehicles, and slippery sidewalk. I made it back into the apartment complex ok where an army of mainly women were frantically sweeping away the snow, to leave impossibly slippy wet or icy tiles.
no grip

grip but...

I guess they have to keep on top of it or it will just end up so deep it will never clear in the spring but for now at least the roads are the safest place to be.
We have some ice spikes and screws to put into the bottom of shoes coming (thanks Bob) but I'm not sure quite how much of an advantage they will be on the swept and polished sidewalks.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

mine's bigger than yours

In a city where might is right, and your power and influence are judged by the size and shininess of your car. In a city where Range Rovers and Land Cruisers are the norm rather than the exception. In a city where the Hummer is becoming de rigeur we saw some thing surprising last week.

A stretch Hummer, no idea how you get that through these streets, the corners are too tight, the humps and holes likely to bottom it out even with its prodigious ground clearance.

Then believing we had just seen the biggest car in UB we turned a corner and...

Now that's what I'm talking about...a proper sized vehicle. What the picture doesn't show is the the four front wheels all of which turn and the huge dif. at the back suggesting it is somewhat more than 4 wheel drive.

I wonder how long before we see these on the school run.