This morning I remarked to Marian, that along with Lojong Slogans, other pithy sayings had been introduced to me and some stick and others don’t. I can’t remember who or where I was introduced to the saying, “This or something better,” but I’ve found it helpful sometimes when dealing with uncertainty or disappointment. Though I can’t exactly say (yet) that five extra days in Ulaanbaatar is/was better than climbing on a gorgeous glacier to a country high peak, I can say that it has provided a more gentle and relaxed entry into our travels as Lungta Livyers. The summer was quite frantic in finishing up my teaching responsibilities, growing our garden, packing up the house, and trying to get out on training hikes. It whirled by and I often lamented missing the present moment of the summer in preparation for the fall’s adventures. We made our initial plans over Christmas break and 8 months later, I’d wondered if they still made sense as I was craving some down time.
Another of those pithy sayings that comes to mind is “Be careful what you wish for.” I wasn’t wishing for this downtime in any shape or form but I can see the benefits as we’ve spent the past three days walking the streets of UB. We racked up nearly 50 km wondering from museum to monastery to lunch to park to dinner. We’ve gone where we’ve been lead by both the map and the game of Ingress. Taking it slow. Stopping often. Watching the world of UB unfold around us. We seen children driving electric cars wound Liberty Square. This morning we allowed the vibration of monks chanting settle our wild horse minds. We’ve eaten meals from eight different cultures and have been trying to understand the weave of history, culture, and spirituality that has formed this place into what it is today.
The forced pause in UB has delivered a much deeper and richer visit to this city. I’ve enjoyed that. Of course, I wish it wasn’t at a cost of the climb but I can see the value of slow travel. Being in a place longer with time to stop and watch families play together at the National Amusement Park. Being in place with time to walk. Through neighbourhoods and grocery stores. To actually read all the words on the displays in museums. To be in the place and not just consume it. This is the something better and our following adventures will be much richer for it too.
We’re headed off into central Mongolia tomorrow and I’m not sure how cell coverage/internet will be so don’t be alarmed if we get a bit quiet over the next four days. We’re back Wednesday evening with many more stories to tell.