Consulting In Mongolia (March 2004)
Mongolia is a little known but extremely interesting country sandwiched
between China and Russia. It was effectively a satellite of Russia for
most of the the 20th century but became truly independent in 1990 after
the break up of the USSR. Unfortunately, this independence catapulted
Mongolia into the free market economy without any time for transition. International
aid was available but, in the case of the Agricultural Bank, this wasn't
enough to prevent bankruptcy twice in the 1990s. It was rescued under a
World Bank initiative in the late 1990's and US based managers from Development
Alternatives (www.dai.com) were brought
in to set the wheels in motion. The bank was renamed as Khan Bank (i.e.
King Bank) and has gone from strength to strength. To ensure that the
necessary IT systems were in place, I completed a Strategic IT Review for
Khan Bank (www.khanbank.mn) in March 2004.
The temperature ranged betweeen -25C and -5C for the whole duration.
Trip to Dakhan
Here we are heading to Dakhan, an up country branch. We had to stop here for good luck - walk around the prayer flags 3 times and throw a stone on the pile.
We visited the branch in Dakhan. Note the customers all wrapped up in fur hats.
Note the piles of cash.
Didn't seem to be any
security problems. Inside a smaller branch.
Group in branch, Batma, Ben, Chulunsetsek, Nara, John. John and Baagi (translator)
Ben and Baagi outside the branch. Outside temp is -20C (but sunny).
Ulaan Baator, The Capital
The lone policeman looks after the main intersection near the main square.
Here's the frozen footpath I had to navigate. They'd clean it off each night but then it would snow that night and freeze again.
Fantastic ice sculptures which last many months.
Waiting for the bus.
The river is frozen for half the year.
Lunch inside the bank ger (like a yurt).
Picnic Day In The Snow
Heading out of town. Lots of people still live in gers.
Some local livestock: cows and sheep? And it's shirtsleeves (for a minute anyway)
Quite beautiful near the snow resort.
Skiing and tobagonning.
Tug of war
The highlight of the day: "hoorhog" - lamb boiled in pressure cooker with vegies and stones. Stones are lucky to hold when they come out.
Here's the meat. This is followed by vodka.
Leaving Mongolia, scenes from the plane.
Singing The Beatles in a Beijing Bar. Yesterday, all my troubles........
Bikes in Beijing (note the pollution)
Street scenes in Beijing
The Forbidden Palace - near Tienamen Square.
Bikes waiting at the lights.
Back home and Grace has the Mongolian Hat on.......And the kids have the Khan Bank baseball caps.