Mongolian Friends

Here are our wonderful interpreters –  Tseegil and Mogy – on this “All Girl” Training Team. And below are two Mongolian friends who came to Washington for training, Ariumbolor and Ulzi (the Wonder Woman of Mongolia!) with the other trainers, Melody and Theresa at our celebratory trip to the Grand Khaan Irish Pub!

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Mongolian Horse Hair Fiddle Performance

100_1525 As part of our work here in Mongolia, we were treated to a performance of traditional Mongolian music at the Chinggis Khaan Airport yesterday. Here are some pix. We’re off to “the countryside” to the north today, so I don’t know if I’ll have access to the internet and thought I should post before I go!

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100_1528 Great shoes! By the way, Theresa – one of the training team members – took these pix. We have to find her some of these shoes!

Amazing Tomato Essence Soup

One of the best benefits of traveling is that you sometimes get to eat in amazing restaurants that have food you’d never encounter otherwise. Here at the Arcotel in Vienna, I ordered a soup for dinner the other night, called “Essence of Tomato Soup”, that was said to have “Clear Tomato Noodles”. I was encouraged that this would be a good experience because I had ordered the pumpkin soup on a prior night at this restaurant and was delighted at the experience. As for the name of the soup and its ingredients, I assumed this was another case of imperfect translation from one language to another, or as has happened so many times, my simple misunderstanding.

100_1459But, no! This soup was nothing like my favorite tomato soup from a can. There was no question on tasting it that it is tomato soup. But it was not red, it barely had any color at all. And when I started to sip it, I thought that it was just a broth. Until I chanced upon a Clear Noodle.

Ok, when was the last time you were so struck by your tomato soup that you asked if you could take its picture? You can see the noodles propped up by the spoon. But the rest of them – yes, there were more! were virtually invisible in the soup.

Am I the only one who thinks this is funny?

Flush_ButtonOn prior trips to Europe, I had seen an engineering innovation in which toilets had two flush buttons, one for “liquid waste” and one for “solid waste”. I’ve started to see these toilets in the US now too. It seems like a perfectly reasonable way to conserve water. But here in the Arcotel in Vienna, the clean, modern engineering has a humorous element. It took me a little while to figure out, but once I did, I can only chuckle at the engineer who had fun coming up with this flush button.

View from the Arcotel in Vienna

I have gotten some really amazing hotels in my travels, and some that were not so great. After a string of the not-so-great, I started a practice of taking a picture – or in really memorable cases, pictures – from the  window of my room wherever I’m staying. One of my favorites turned out to be a picture of the non-descript roof of the building next door. The reason it was my favorite though, was because it was the first time my favorite travel person, Tracy, managed to get me booked into the Ritz Carlton at Pentagon City. The roof was of one of my favorite places – Pentagon City Mall. I was in heaven!

100_1461Well, so much for history – here is the picture from the Arcotel. It’s a gray day, damp and foggy. Appropriate for November. But this hotel is situated in a nice little corner. There is a playground across the street and an easy walking path to get to the Vienna International Center where we have our meetings.

Erin likes the free breakfast especially because it has so many nummy breakfast foods – not a trivial consideration for a veggie as she is! Now if only the hotel had better internet connection, I would be perfectly content!

Great image of Paris lost for an “off” switch!

Flying in to Charles DeGaulle airport this morning, I was struck by a lovely, and unusual, image of the city. Certainly different than I’ve ever seen. There was a gray fog over the city, shrouding many of the immediately recognizable landmarks in the city. But rising above the fog was the Eiffel Tower in the distance, dark gray against the light gray fog. I thought about taking out my camera, but we were nearly landed, and a camera is one of those electronic devices “with an on/off switch” so I didn’t get the picture. Shame.

My first trip to Vienna

Here are some pix from my first trip to Vienna. Well, at least the first trip where I stopped, left the airport, worked, got to walk around the city. This was my first trip where Vienna wasn’t just a layover on the way to somewhere else!

The first pictures are of some little sculptures in the display window of a museum I saw when I was walking with Doug, one of the members of the team. They look Mongolian to me – and since that’s the other country I’ll be traveling to over the next few years, they caught my attention.

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And these are pix of the Italian Alps on the way from Vienna to Milan, Italy. The pictures are natural color, taken through the airplane window, and not adjusted in any way (other than cropped in some cases). I liked how the fog crept in through the sharp valleys.

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And then there were these little darlings. They were adorable, but do you see what each of them has in hand? A blackberry! Arg! Addiction starts young!

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The Previous Trip to Vienna

The last time the team was in Vienna, it was August. Here are some of my favorite images – including a “Group Photo” taken from an amazing restaurant high on a hill above Vienna. We all work for Erin – the tiny but brilliant person in the middle of the pack.

Team Erin

Ok, I know I just said she was brilliant. But here’s a picture (left below) from a restaurant where it took us both about 15 minutes to realize that the teacup she had asked the server for several times – was right there under the tea pot! Great design, but ultimately a humbling pot of tea!  Sorry about the lack of focus – was laughing!

On the right is an amazing monument in Vienna – built by Emperor Leopold I to commemorate the city at long last emerging from the plague.

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