Six students from the University of Pittsburgh Honors College trek across Mongolia in search of illumination, perspective, and the perfect cup of Yak-milk tea.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

For Those About To Makh, We Salute You

    Well folks, it's been a while since last, blogged? Upon further reflection, I realize that sounds at least somewhat obscene and will refrain from using said phrasing in the future.
    We are in the throes of Nadam! Nadam is Mongolia's national holiday: think of all of the excitement of the Fourth of July, your sixth birthday, and New Years rock n' rolled into three days of festivities. Yesterday was the opening ceremony, which featured both solemn intonations in traditional costume and lots and lots of Mongolian wrestling. For some reason, the initial bit of wrestling seemed to be comprised almost entirely of a very small guy getting absolutely rocked by a much larger guy. If you looked hard enough, it seemed like you could just make out the smaller guy giving the larger guy his lunch money. If you're familiar with the X-Men, think of Juggernaut versus well, someone without mutant powers. If football is more your fancy, think of watching the Browns trying to play the Steelers (That one's for you, Dan). Or the Browns trying to play anyone, for that matter (That one's for you, Pittsburgh).
    Later in the evening, there was an enormous open-air rock concert in Sukhbatar Square. Sukhbatar Square is, as those of you who are familiar with basic shapes might imagine, a large square that is located in the center of Ulaan Bataar and is named Sukhbatar. Sukh-B to his friends. The main act was a Mongolian version of Metallica, as best as I can tell. Montallica, I suppose. Men, women, children, and plants of all ages packed the square, creating what I like to call an undulating sea of humanity. I specifically prefaced that last comment with "what I like to call," because I'm virtually certain no one else likes to call it that. But there was a wonderful happiness and joviality to this particular thundering metal concert: I am almost certain I saw a baby on his father's shoulders try to throw up the goat horns as the guitarist launched into a blistering C.C. DeVille-esque solo. In a side note: for those of you unfamiliar with the phrase "throwing up the goat horns," please rest assure that it has nothing to do with regurtitation, though 1980's rock concerts saw the two occur together with alarming frequency. Instead, "throwing up the goat horns" refers to extending one's index and pink fingers while curling in the middle, ring, and thumb and then rhythmically raising and lowering the hand. It is most often used to express the idea, "You rock!" Alternatively, it can serve as warning that one is about to regurgitate. For further information, please reference the 80's. Do so at your own peril, however.
    The evening was concluded by a rousing fireworks displaying, confirming that bright colors, loud noises, and explosions are nearly universal in their appeal, a fact long exploited by The Fox Network. What a wonderful night. Hope you are all well.
Rock on, my friends.
Rock on.