Woody Packard

Words + Pictures

On The Ground


Apartments, across the river from ger district
Our first few days here have taken some adjustment. A little more than a week ago we were living in rural Montana, where people spoke English, and where, when we woke up in the morning, we could usually say with some confidence what we would do that day.

For the past week we have been living in a city of nearly two million people, and very few of them speak English. We have found ourselves straining as we walk, craning our necks at the text on the many signs we pass, in search of something that we can make sense of. We are rusty on the few Mongolian words that we knew, and sound them out a syllable at a time, hoping for a flicker of recognition. But the words are not all that we have forgotten.

We are re-learning Mongolian money, the sound of Mongolian numbers, and remembering math in the tens of thousands of tugrugs. Having gotten used to Missoula drivers, we are remembering the skills needed to cross the street here. Finally, we are remembering the incongruent confluence of western material culture and traditional nomadic culture that is playing out everywhere you look. It's good to be back.

Close Story—Back to Pictures

On The Ground

Click below to page through enlarged images or read the story.

2141026-024
Ogooj

2141022-017
Mongolian Barbecue

2141025-007
Granville Restaurant

2141026-021
Woodman, Kitchens

2141022-020
School Crossing

2141026-023
Sculptures, Shopping Center

2141025-008
Lenin No More

2141028-008
East End of Peace Avenue

2141028-014
Mongolian Dog

2141023-011
Paving, Beijing Street

2141023-006
Overpass, Graffiti

2141027-010
Choijin Lama Monestery Museum

2141027-016
Blue Sky Hotel, Rush Hour

2141028-026
New Construction

2141028-005
New Paint

2141027-007
Starting Over

2141021-028
New Paint

2141028-023
New Old Construction

2141026-008
For Three


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