Something of a technological apocalypse here, as last night I finished writing a very long post on my experience of Nadaam and over the past week, and prepared to load some video on the post of playing, singing and other noisemaking during the festival when something about doing that simple act made my laptop crash.

Now it won't do anything but give me a blue screen, or what geeks call the blue screen of death. Several hours of trying again didn't work. Cursing seemed to have little effect either.

Blue is an auspicious color in Mongolia, and I've always been partial to blue, so I won't call it the blue screen of death, but it definitely seems to signal the end of things for my laptop, which is kaput. It is under warranty but fat lot that is going to help here in Mongolia.

This is going to put a serious crimp in posting to Nunal, to say the very least.

I had some things to send off today, so I walked back to the hotel where I stayed the first night, looked like I knew what I was doing and walked to the computers without a hitch. It always helps to look a bit like you know what you are doing.

...and the photos load fine onto this computer, so clearly something was wrong with that laptop, the videos were just the last straw maybe. I have a lot of good ones of different players, throat singers, and others, but it will have to wait.

Maybe the best unexpected sound I have gotten so far was of the singing done during the game of shooting ankle bones of the camel, goat, sheep, and goat, a kind of low moan. I'll try to figure some way to get my videos posted.

Anyway, I can't sit here for long, but here are a couple brief representative shots so my last posting for awhile is not about the sewer dwellers. That would just be too depressing.

Some fake flowering plants actually planted for Nadaam in a park just east of Suhbaatar Sqaure. I thought it was weird and it was, since there really is nothing blooming in this city except the flowers people bring to musicians after the performances. There were these little fake trees, and numerous fake flowers, and even fake mushrooms around a little pagoda park. Quite strange.

I visited Gandan Monastery last week, which is the largest and most impressive one in the city and among the most important in Mongolia. It has an absolutely huge gold Buddha surrounded by sutras to turn. On the grounds there are many buildings and many more sutras.

Mongolian Buddhist iconography and practice owes a lot to Tibetan Buddhism so it is very ornate, visually and aurally interesting. Here are just a few pics-- one of the monestary hall itself, and then acouple of pictures of some sutras on other temples for people to turn and some places on the walls of the buildings between them where people trace their hands across the walls and then turn and kiss a certain spot. It looks like a heartbeat.

Here is a shot of the archery competition at Nadaam. You can see how close I could stand, this was taken with a little handheld camera. When the arrow hit the target the line of men at the end all raised their hands, when it missed they held them vertically or did a circular "travelling" kind of move with their arms. A lot of fun to watch.

Lots of stuff being peddled at Nadaam. Maybe the weirdest was the guy selling statues of Buddha, Buddhist deities...and Hitler. ??? He was proud to hold it up for me.

Next to him the sellers had the same array, with the addition of Stalin and Lenin and Chingiss Khan. And I think Gorby, but I didn't look at that one too closely.

Now here are some sellers the Tea Party would like given their political sophistication, Hitler AND Stalin AND Lenin.

Actually, there is a neo-Nazi thing going on in Mongolia. The swastikas you see around are not the Buddhist ones.


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