Friday, April 24, 2009

Just when my work seemed to be going so well

Just when my work seemed to be going so well one of my projects has collapsed. On Monday we travelled by train for 8 hours, arrived in sainshand in the evening, checked into the hotel and celebrated my birthday with a meal and a bottle of vodka. On the Tuesday we visited Khamaryn Khiid monastery and in the evening met with the governor to discuss the project. This should have been a routine meeting, we had met in January, sent draft proposal, agreed cost share and received itinerary including 2 or 3 days looking at cross border tourism with China. So i was shocked when the governer said this was the first he had heard of the project, he was not prepared to fund it. Shocked I agreed to meet the governer again the next day. Phone call, copies of e mails confirmed that the aimag government had known of the project and agreed the scope, tho there were claims that certain e mails had not been received. The main reason seems to be the governer did not wish to work with our Mongolian consultant Gantemur, claiming Gana had a conflict of interest. The governer omitted to mention that apparently his wife has a tourism business working with chinese tourists. So I returned to UB 3 days early, my Chinese visa unused, disappointed and a bit wiser about realities of working here.

But I was pleased to have the chance to visit Khamarin Khiid again

Dinosaur bones in Gobi

Spring in Mongolia

Spring in Mongolia is notorious for changes of weather. On Saturday 18 April, after a week of glorious sunshine Tom and I set out for a night out camping in Khan Khenti Protected Area in search of the elusive black billed caipercaillie. Our plans were thwarted when we woke on Sunday morning to a blizzard and two inches of snow.