Checking Opening Hours

Nicholas Quirke was experiencing deja vu on 27 January 2020. Echoes from his 2018 odyssey resonated through his head, only this time he was dragging an innocent Russian couple into the maelstrom of travel disaster. The day started well when he discovered, on waking, that breakfast was provided. He felt bad though when he saw Haji’s crestfallen face as he stopped him from cracking an egg on announcing his Vegan lifestyle. He discovered that Rainbow and Lisa were leaving that morning, a fact of little consequence, until he discovered later that evening he was the sole guest and and had the apartment to himself. Winter is clearly a good time to travel through these parts if you prefer a more private lifestyle as there are so few people journeying. People are probably put off by the temperatures and potentially adverse weather conditions. He appeared on this score that he had been lucky. Was this mild winter that Russia and Mongolia were both enjoying the result of climate change , Global warming and pollution or was he just lucky. On his journey to date, sporting his thermals he had not suffered from the cold. The temperature in the coldest city in the world, Ulaaan-Baator was about – 6 degrees during the day with skies of blue. Nicholas saw that there was a washing machine and asked Haji what the procedure was for a small wash and Was immediately given the opportunity to get his clothes laundered. Clean smalls which Grace W would be veery pleased about.  Arrangements had been made with Slava and Kseniya to meet them in front of the Genghis Khan statue, Sukhubaator Square at 10 30. They found a place to drink and Nicholas ordered a green tea. When it came it was a pale green colour, and peppered with strange Green flecks. It looked suspiciously milky. Having researched a number of activities, and place to go, he took the lead and suggested they go to the National Museum of Mongolia and the Choijin Lama Temple as they were in the area. It wasn’t a long walk, but once they arrived at the museum they discovered it was shut on a Monday. Memories of the Taj Mahal loomed large in his memory. Undeterred they made for the monastery which was a little more difficult to find, and once again on arrival they discovered it was shut. It appeared that on Mondays Public buildings aren’t open. How had he not learned his lesson! Always, always check opening hours. It really can save a lot of wasted time. There was little point in them continuing the debacle which had also led to the loss of one of Nicholas’s favoured tote bags, a black ‘American Eagle’. There was nothing of value in the bag but it had been a trusted item on his first odyssey. He hoped the tote found a good home in Mongolia, and was not just consigned to rubbish. Instead they set off to locate a bank Slava could use and a Vegan restaurant, the familiar sounding Loving Hut. He learned that Slava and Kseniya had only been learning English for 4 months so when Kseniya revealed she liked ‘punching other peoples food’, causing much merriment, she could be forgiven.. They ate a vegan version of a National Mongolian dish, which was delicious. He was really glad he had some friends to share the experience with. In the two days he had been in the City, he had come to like its streets a lot and finding his way around it was surprisingly easy. They went to the department store so Slava could buy some gloves and Nicholas could finally change the fistful of dollars back to togrog. The Mongolian currency is all notes and such large amounts`that he was continually confused by what he was spending. They went their separate ways Nicholas brought some groceries for the evening and went home. Haji’s sister Bobi was there and he noted that all his laundry had been through the drier and was now hanging to air. He felt oddly touched. No one had done his laundry for him for at least 30 years. Bobi showed him the hand gel and face masks for him to use, checked what time he would like breakfast in the morning and left. As there was little for him to do he settled in for the evening to write, make videos and contact a variety of family members. He spoke too with Rosalind about the potential job that opened up due to an unfortunate situation that was affecting Debbie Bridges. It was for 18 months and wasn’t in Beijing but not much was discussed as Nicholas pointed out that he had been unable to apply for jobs due to his age. Rosalind would check the situation and get back to him before any other matters were discussed. Once she had gone though he thought of about 20 other questions he needed answers to and wrote another text and went to bed.


  1. Your smalls have been on my mind Nick. But I can rest easy for a while now. Mongolia is not what I expected. I don’t know why but rather ignorantly I was anticipating everyone riding on horse back and living in wooden huts in the wilderness. I hadn’t envisaged a modern appartment and a department store. Your Odyssey is an education for us all.

  2. Ulaan Baataar does lool like a great city. And that AmEagle bag was destined for oblivion… the one you left at mine? Twice. Stay warm, eat well & keep your smalls clean. Xx

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