Sunday, November 5, 2017

Day 31 - A Full Day in Russian Mongolia

Today was a long one with an early start and a late return.  Our local escort and guide, Biyama, met us at the hotel and we were off and driving out of the city to the Buddhist monastery of Ivolginski Datsun.  There we wandering the grounds, turning the prayer drums and marveling at the temple structures.  We entered some to view the altars and some of us ventured into the local shrine were the fully and naturally preserved remains of a sacred monk from the mid 1800’s was on display. 

Afterward we were taken to a local restaurant for an opportunity to sample true Buryat cuisine.  The soup of a mutton broth with “bits” of mutton and onion.  It was pretty fatty and only a few of us ate more than a few spoonfuls.  Next came a large sampling plate with stewed tripe, beef and mutton dumplings, heart and liver pasties, boiled potatoes and a carrot and cabbage wilted slaw.  Everything but the tripe went down easily; that stayed on the plate not only by us but also by our guide and driver…so we didn’t feel too bad. 

We drove back into town were we wandered the main square admiring the architecture and a huge bronze head of Lenin.  From there we toured a small museum dedicated to the merchant who built and lived in the same house.  Afterward we visited a well-stocked souvenir store for some last minute shopping.   

Our last even of the evening was the Buyratian National Theater’s performance of the musical, “Circles.”  Our guide gave us a very detailed storyline before the performance and even though the entire event was in the Buyrat language, we were able to follow the story quite well.  The music, costumes, staging, lighting, singing and acting were great and it was a really delightful two hours of entertainment. We ended the evening with dinner at an upscale nightclub where we danced to Americna disco and enjoyed beef stroganoff with all the trimmings. 

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