At the completion of the eagle hunting trip, Baatar took me to the local Kazakh museum in Ulgi. I “pretended” to mount the stuffed horse and Baatar took my photo. We certainly thought it was funny and had a good laugh over it; the curator looked on with an expressionless and grim gaze. The museum told the story of how the Kazakh people came to move to Bayan Ulgi following an invite from the Mongolian government. The museum had fine examples of Kazakh clothing, jewelry and ornaments, weapons, an authentic ger (round felt tent), and had many other exhibits.
These are traditional Kazakh wedding costumes. The man dressed in the robe on the left including the funny looking conical hat. On the way to the wedding, he was “challenged” by the women of the town – most often the relatives of the bride – they were allowed to insult him and tease him, and by tradition, he had to take it all without reaction.
Inside the museum they had a proper ger on display. It is really quite amazing to see the oppulence that some of these ger homes exhibited. Remember, all of this furniture must be moved by horseback as the ger is relocated to summer grazing grounds and winter hunting grounds.
There were also military displays and in this case I saw a Mosin Nagant (7.62mm Russian rifle) that had been “sporterized” into a hunting rifle and given to a Kazakh hero as a gift for his many years of service (I thought that Mike would get a kick out of this pic).
Following the museum tour, we made our way to the local Turkish restaurant and had some tasty lamb and chicken kebaabs. 3 or 4 of the professors from the Turkish university came in to eat and Baatar told me the history of this business. A Turkish man came to town and found a local Kazakh woman to marry and then relocated to Ulgi and began this restaurant. It is a favorite of not only the Kazakh locals but also for the Turkish staff of the college. Turkey has invested in universities and schools for children in an attempt to reunify the different Turkic peoples to a common Turkish culture. There is a push by Turkey to unify all of the different Turkic countries into a common Turkish culture to establish better trading and economic alliances. As Kazakhstan and some of the other central Asian countries are rich in mineral wealth, Turkey and the other countries of such an economic alliance could benefit considerably.
Outside of the museum many of the people of Ulgi were wearing their H1N1 “swine flu” masks as the fear of the flu has spread from Ulaanbaatar to the rest of the country.
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