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, August 30, 2005

Fort Ulaanbaatar reoccupied

Greetings, everyone! From here on out, it's just going to be you and me. The fate of your blog-reading enjoyment is not in particularly skilled hands - in fact, this is the first time I've posted on a blog. As the only member of team GQK Memorial Summer Camp remaining for Round 2: GQK Memorial Fall Camp, however, it looks like you're stuck with me.
I got back in Ulaanbaatar safely on Friday night, after a delightful direct flight from DC to Seoul and an evening jaunt from Seoul to UB. Time spent standing in lines in Beijing's airport: about 5 1/2 hours. Time spent standing in lines in Seoul's airport: about 25 minutes. Should you ever need a flight to Ulaanbaatar, I'd recommend Korean Air.
The past few days have mostly been spent settling in. Taking care of tuition and registration seemed a lot more time-consuming and complicated than necessary, and at first I attributed this to the way most things work in Mongolia. Reflecting on my experience registering back at Pitt in the days before I returned, however, I think this is one area where Mongolia is competing admirably with the American system.
It's still a little weird to be here without any of my five Pitt comrades, but I guess I'll start getting used to it. It's also been strange seeing all the friends we made here this summer - as if they were also out of another time and don't belong in this one. I've really appreciated all the help and companionship our friends here have offered, though, and I consider myself quite lucky.
I'll try to keep regular postings about my progress here. Until then, know that the base is no longer unmanned.