Metal in Mongolia
The first time I heard heavy metal–_the kind I listen to, from Scandinavia_– in Mongolia was also the first time I heard this music broadcast on mainstream TV, while staying with a herding family in East-Central Mongolia.
I was seated outside on a carpet with my language teacher, we moved throughout the morning as the patch of shade shifted with the sun. The dog who didn’t die–yet remains nameless, at least in memory–lay napping by my side. I tried not to sound frustrated as I generated yet one more lifeless sentence of grammar crap.
Flies – Ger – Annihilation (5mins)
I took what must have been my 100th lap around the ger–I had struck a rhythm; long underwear snapping against the canvas roof to the beat of my stilted step. My right foot always hitting harder as it centripetally held me in an orbit–clockwise of course, even when committing flyicide.
From my field journal…
31 August, Afternoon
>Flies are everywhere. On my arm.
>Fuck these godforsaken fucking flies. Wow, I sound angry, no?
31 August, 5:30pm
>Now Lkhakvasuren is running around the ger rambo-style with a towel in one hand, and my pillow in the other, windmilling her arms.
4 September, 3:55pm
>Midday is definitely the worst time of day. It’s hot, and there’s nothing to do. My [host] father usually naps or watches TV, or both, while I make flashcards or do homework. Meanwhile, the flies go beserk. There’s no point in even trying to wave them away.
>Right now the only sound is of flies swarming above and around me. A chorus that ebbs and flows to its own chaotic pulse. Usually, I get up every ten minutes or so to clear my side of the ger, if only to lessen the number in my immediate vicinity, for a few moments of relative peace.
>It sorta works. At least I don’t feel helpless. My [host] father is going to tend to the sheep now…
8 September, 3:47pm
>When this baby screams, it’s like the sun is shattering, screeching-swerving through space. Except less cosmic, graceful, grandiose, or poetic. The shit is just LOUD and SHRILL.
>It’s also the witching hour. Or hours. WHen the flies all take their afternoon dose of speed and then go Bat-Shit-Insane all over the ger. _Todo: Become zen so I don’t care_
9 September, 3:00pm
>…they joked that I should give them burzag blah blah, that I was a poor host –pause to kill some flies–
9 September, 3:55pm
>Phew. There were 100’s, now there are, like, 20. The war is un-winnable, but I figure I can win a few battles to make their level at least tolerable. And strike some fear into their grimy hearts.
Anyways, so these guys show up…
In Mongolia, vegetable soup consists of:
In Mongolia, the girls walk home to their slums wearing fake designer jeans and faux-fur-trimmed coats.
In Mongolia, Dogs are not man’s best friend.
In Mongolia, Chinggis Khaan is the God of Gods.
In Mongolia, marmots steal frisbees and other bright white, fast-moving objects.
In Mongolia, your cab fare is computed using a simple formula:
(distancekm*300) / (mongolian language ability) / (number of mongolians with you) + 500 \* (number of gringos) + random \* 100