Geof Cox's blog

Selected past blogs

A social enterprise visit to Mongolia

Mongolia is, as you'd expect, an extraordinary place. The first thing that strikes you is the climate - it's right in the middle of the biggest land mass on earth, and it's high too. Ulaan Baatar is just below 5,000 feet, which if you're used to sea level is enough to take your breath away if you run up 2 or 3 flights of stairs (it did mine anyway) - but most of the land around is much higher. Because of this and the nearby Gobi the air is really dry - at first you want to keep drinking water every few minutes, not because you're really thirsty but because your mouth just dries up all the time. Mongolians call their country 'the land of blue sky' because almost every day is cloudless - if they have visited Europe, even the south, the first thing they say about it is: 'Oh! the sky was so grey there'.

As you can imagine this makes for really extreme temperatures, from 40 degrees in summer to -40 in winter - Ulaan Baatar is the coldest capital city in the world - but even more extraordinarly it can go from hot to literally freezing in the same day. There are deep valleys in the countryside where the ice never melts, so you can stand there dripping sweat from your head but freezing from the knees down! We saw something of the summer/winter change (there isn't really any spring or autumn) on the middle weekend of our visit - going from day-time weather much like a British summer day to the middle of snowy January over just one night.

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