Bruce’s Report #16
Hi, from the base of Bagd Mountain near Bahkt outside of Ulaan Baatar.
All the competitors are housed in the Baht Hotel, a tourist hotel popular with groups, especially Japanese tour groups. I last spoke to you from Ulaan Baatar, the capital. The internet cafes there are aplenty, and it is quite cheap too (works out about A$2.50 an hour).
If you get this message in a timely fashion it means that they have finally got the modem here to work (the phone lines seem to be quite dodgy) ! If they do manage to get it going I’ll arrange to dump some pictures out overnight too. The “computer” room is on our floor, and I can hook my laptop into their hub with no problems. [Ed: They didn’t]
|Buddhist Temple||Suburban Street||Sukhbaatar Square|
We had a good long walk around Ulaan Baatar, looking at the main square and the Monestery to the North. It is still active, but obviously a good tourist destination too. As requested, I now have a Mongolian Hat ! (It is a fur and felt one that I can fit in my luggage, rather than the stiff peaked ornamental one which I’d never get back to Australia in one piece. We stayed at Nassan’s Guest house, which actually turned out to be very good. We had 3 beds , and the old lady who looked after the apartment preferred the floor. She could speak little English, but we managed (she must see heaps of tourists and backpackers). It was only A$4 each for the night. We found a Cafe opposite which looked to be very high class, but despite this was very cheap (well for us anyway). The food and service were excellent too, and the toilet even had toilet paper (a rarity in Mongolia it seems).
After looking at the open air market where we bought some bits and pieces (again very cheap for us), we took a taxi to the Baht Hotel. This was quite a trip (18km or so), but only cost us A$12 or so. We had no real other way of meeting up with transport from the airport or train station, so just figured it was easier to avoid the stuffing around and go straight to the Hotel.
|Baht Hotel from the Hill||The Hills from Baht Hotel||Bruce tries Stirls sniffer|
The Hotel is pretty nice (and yes it has toilet paper too :-)). It is set in a green valley with pine covered hills to one side and a grassy/rocky hill on the other. It is fairly remote and caters for tourists interested in hiking, horse riding or just the countryside. It is right next to the Bagt Mountain National Park. Maybe one of the events will be somewhere very near here !
We arrived at the Hotel and were at a bit of a loss, but Kazaks carrying Yagis convinced us we had in fact come to the right place (phew!… we had directed the taxi driver by pointing at the map and the Hotel name). The reception desk did seem to be familiar with what we were so we got some rooms eventually.
That night I had a team leaders meeting. As usual went on for ages for not much information, but we do know it’s a 1:15000 map. Unsure if true or magnetic North as yet…. Our starting order draw was last for 2m, and first for 80m. Some talk about how Kazahkstan and Eastern Russia are keen to join Region 3 ARDF (I bet !), but they would have to apply formally to IARU. The special event callsign here is JU1ARDF.
Dinner was in the Hotel and was a mixed affair. Salads, mutton, potatoes in various forms, schnizels and so on. Pretty good though. Breakfast the next morning was ok too, but I’m hanging out for some cereal… I miss it !
This morning was another team leaders meeting in a ger _inside_ the Hotel. The Hotel also has accomodation gers outside. Meanwhile the practice transmitters were running. For some reason Dale’s 80m set didn’t seem to pick up anything at all (I will have to have a closer look at it). They were unsure of the frequencies (again), as they had just bought new trasnmitters from Korea. The final verdict seems to be 144.76 and 144.42 for 2m and 3.57 and 3.92 for 80m. Of course, Bryan had to re-tweak his 80m sniffer to handle the range yet again.. Stirls one seems to cover the range ok (thanks Ian!). The time limit for both events is to be 120mins for 4 to 7km crow flies length. Disqualification if you lose your punch card, late, or mis-punch !
|2m Practice||Australian Team lines up||China didn’t bring a flag|
The opening ceremony was held in front of the Hotel, and was a return to the reasonably formal arrangement with each team behind a sign bearer. We also took the Aussie flag, prompting other teams to go and grab theirs (if they had one!). Lots of speeches in both Mongolian and English saying much the same thing. At last it finished and we were able to watch some traditional Mongolian entertainment. It broke for a short while in the middle due to rain, but the most unusual performances were the female contorsionist (that was incredible… does she have any backbone at all ?) and the male “nasal” singer (can you sing through your nose ??).
|The Contortionist||Kazakhstan and Friends||Everyone (well most anyway)|
My roommate is a Russian Open/Senior/OM competitor. He speaks little English, and I speak absolutely no Russian, but we both make do with woeful German. Who cares it works ! For the verbs we forget we wave hands.
I have just been for a jog up the valley, and returned to a “quick” Region 3 committee meeting. Bryan and I stood in as proxies for Jack WWW.
NEWS FLASH ! NEWS FLASH !
Australia (WIA) are to host the 2003 Region 3 ARDF competition ! Japan could not make a committment at this stage, but hope to aim for 2005 and China, though keen to run a combined ARDF/FRG in Suzhou, could also not commit at this meeting. The Australia decision is yet to be confirmed at the upcoming Region 3 ARDF committee meeting. Other possibilites for the future are India or New Zealand, or if the Eastern Europeans are sucessful in their Region 3 applications, Vladivostok or Kazahkstan.
I still have not been able to send this out, so maybe after the 2m competition I will go into Ulaan Baatar to do so (they are offering lifts there). [Ed: 2m event ran a bit late so UlaanBaatar was called off]