Today I had my first hot shower in 4 days. Apparently this is a recurring problem in Mongolia (in Ullaanbator where there is hot water), homes can go for weeks with no hot water. The water is too cold to even shower, so technically this is actually my first shower in 4 days.
‘But I start my new job tomorrow and my hair is greasy,’ I say to my host family panicking.
They laugh, as if there is no urgency to the situation.
‘Your work will not mind,’ they reply.
And that is the difference that makes living in Mongolia’s capital a very strange experience that I still can’t get my head around.
‘But this would never happen in the UK.’ I think to myself.
But this isn’t the UK.
Although walking around the capital you could be fooled into thinking you were in a modern European city. This is Ullaanbator, the main city in Mongolia, where over half the population live in apartment blocks and work in the new skyscrapers that are rising across the city.
It’s a strange experience – so close to modern day living yet… it’s not quite.
My body is still adjusting to the dust and dry heat (Mongolia has extreme temperatures, reaching -30 in the winter, accelerating to a red hot summer) and the Mongolian’s eat according to this weather; fatty meats and carbs to keep them going in all weathers.
There’s not much fruit or veg in their diet and my body’s had its' annual bread intake in a few days.
My host family’s son (who is 5) goes to bed later than I do and everyone sleeps in. It is definitely going to take some adapting to.