It's raining, it's pouring ...

It's raining, it's pouring, the old woman's snoring ....

Not too sure about the last, but it's definitely raining and pouring, here in Tsetserleg. And it has been so since Tuesday night, with only brief periods without rain. Although I'll sound like a wuss, I REALLY don't want to head off back east to UlaanBaatar and face the detour section again so soon after all this rain!! It is forecast to be sunny and warmer 79F on Friday and Saturday, so I'll just hang out here in comfort at the Fairfield for a while longer, and hope that the mud dries out a bit. Having said that, a German biker on an overloaded BMW (IMHO) came through on Tuesday afternoon from UlaanBaatar and he said he'd ridden the whole length of the "detour" up on the main highway! It was basically fairly corrugated, but at least it wasn't slippery mud. Methinks I'll need to do the same when I head back east. Hopefully the roadwork crews aren't back at work after the holiday festivities by then.

In one almost rain free period yesterday evening, I went for a walk uptown to the market area, and all the streets were flooded, to the extent that I was continually wading and walking through water inches deep across the roads. But at least it was warm water, not cold. Flip flops came in handy at times like these.

I had been wanting to buy some clear tubing to make a better hydration system ever since leaving home, but hadn't located any, although I hadn't been looking too hard, I must admit. The very first store I walked into yesterday at the market had exactly what I needed, and cut to the right length, for the princely sum of T7500, which is about A$3 orA$4. Of course, we didn't speak each other's language, but we managed by pointing and using a tape measure, after I showed the sales assistant the short length of tubing that I already had. Nothing is impossible - except muddy detours! Hahaha!

The market was an interesting experience. There is one large "bigbox" type building with the fruit and vegetable market on the ground floor, then other stores- groceries, dress shops, etc etc - on the higher levels. I did go up the escalator, although I never actually found the down elevator, so just walked down the stairwell.

Outside there are many, many "stores" run from shipping containers spread all around the main building. Almost anything one desires can be bought from these stores. It was difficult to keep from slipping and sliding in the mud through the many alleyways, but I managed a good look around at the stock on offer.

There was also a large supermarket in the market precinct, which stocked myriads of hardware items presumably needed in the home, as well as the usual lines stocked in supermarkets. I was able to buy some bagged dried fruits and nuts, as my daily nibbles, so I was happy. I was a bit put off when I saw the delivery of some meat to the meat market stall on the bottom floor of the bigbox building. A guy in a grubby jacket and pants was manhandling a full quarter of beef directly off the floor of a grotty-looking van out in the open air, gravel, water-filled-potholed car park, prior to delivering it to the store, weaving through the throngs of shoppers! Don't think that would pass the WH&S and OH&S standards in Australia, somehow.

I refrained from buying fresh fruit at the markets, as I knew the smaller supermarket I'd been to on Sunday evening had nectarines with beautiful flavour. Off I went to the small supermarket some blocks away though the misty rain. You guessed it, they had sold out of the nectarines! Buying a lovely berry icecream as sustenance, I made my way back through the rain to the markets, and bought some fresh fruits and cherry tomatoes, before walking back to Fairfield.



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