Saturday, April 9, 2011

A very colourful black market

After a warming cup of slightly salty milk tea (traditional Mongolian tea) in the very peaceful Buddhist center, I went with two Swiss girls and a Mongolian friend of theirs to the Black market. We took a taxi, or, rather, we stopped a car in the street. Any car is a potential taxi, you just have to ask if the driver is going in the direction you want to go or if he (or she, but it's mostly a he, I'm afraid) is willing to take you there anyway.

The Black market is not a very black market, it's a perfectly normal market, but a huge one and unfortunately well known for the all the pick pockets that make their living there. You can buy absolutely anything, and everything is available in a huge number of varieties. There are thousands of shoes, belts, hats. There is furniture, traditional Mongolian clothing, CDs, food, toys, washing machines, curtains, radios, horse gear, well, you name it!

The rather imposing entrance. Here two also rather imposing ladies block the way and request that you pay the entrance fee, 50 tugrigs (3 cents).

A new saddle, perhaps? Note that the Mongolians use wooden saddles. In the bottom left corner you can see some traditional Mongolian boots. Don't think that these fancy-looking things are only to look at! You see men every day downtown UB wearing them. A day when I'm not so afraid that pick pockets will spot my camera I will try to get some better pictures of this beautiful footwear.

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