Woody Packard

Words + Pictures

Exploring the Edges


Fiberglass Cow with a Crumpled Horn
For nearly two weeks I've been waiting to hear whether I'll get a job at the Mongolian State University of Arts and Culture. Everything now hinges on the Department of Labor, an agency that, under the current economic difficulties, is without motivation to be generous to foreigners. Their approval is needed for the Department of Immigration to grant me a work visa, which I need both to work and to stay in the country for more than ninety days at a stretch. Among several things the university has asked me to do is to photograph and write for their English language website, teach photography to students, and teach English to teachers. A visa will not be issued unless I am providing a significant amount of service to the university, so my schedule looks much more full than I would like it to be. Now, I'm in a bit of a panic to see as much as I can before work pulls me inside.

Mostly this has meant walking, some every day and as much as fifteen kilometers at a clip. When Judy has been able, she comes with me, but otherwise I am on my own. Together we have been to the top of the Bogd Khaan Protected Area, a group of tall hills to the south of town, with Zaya, a former student of Judy's at ELI in Montana. We have also hiked Peace Avenue east to where it ends, doubling back around a large ger district before making it back to Naraan Tuul, the huge public market, which was closed because it was Tuesday. (We didn't know.) And being tempted by a blue spot on our map just north of town, we set off to see Nogoon Noor—Green Lake. This time of year we didn't expect the green part, but were unprepared for what had happened to the lake, now just ruins of a dam and a vast abandoned dumping ground.

I have also hiked west, taking Peace Avenue until finding road to the south with a bridge that crosses the rail yards. From there real estate becomes industrial and, in places, sadly post-industrial. Brand new metal factory buildings and warehouses are mixed with the concrete and brick remains of a previous wave of investment that failed to pan out or ran its course with the end of the Soviet era. The area is criss-crossed with the large asbestos-covered steam transmission pipes that still deliver heat to much of the city. More...

Close Story—Back to Pictures

Exploring the Edges

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

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Welcome

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Hiking Traffic

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Ger Camp and Resort

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Roadblock

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Summit

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Mixed Housing

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MIxed Housing

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Ger Cafe

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Rail Yards

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Rail Yards

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Traffic

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Apocalypse House

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5th Power Plant, Lux Fashion

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Steam Pipes

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Pipe Wrap

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Expansion Bend

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Practice Plane

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New Apartment, Daily Fuel

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Stupa, Ganan Tegchinlen Monestary

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Ganan Tegchinlen Monestary

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Pigeon Problem

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Prius Zasvar (Prius Service)

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Not a Burglar

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Blood on Sidewalk


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