After the museum we strolled around Sukhbaatar square for a while.
Like any other communist country in the world Mongolia too felt the urge to built a huge square in the middle of its capital, with the main governmental buildings scattered around it. Though nowhere near as big as the Red Square in Moscow, or the Ba Din square in Hanoi (or Tienanmen square which we would visit several days later) it is still an impressive slab of concrete, and remarkably sterile in an otherwise chaotic and dirty city.
Damdin Sukhbaatar is the *other* hero in Mongolian history. While Chinggis Khan is known throughout the world, Sukhbaatar, the hero of the revolution, is equally revered for declaring Mongolia's independence from the Chinese in 1921. Old Sukh is honored with a pink granite statue in the middle of the square.
The overblown shiny modern parliament building to the north of the square is a depressing explanation of what happens with the millions of dollars in aid money the country receives annually. Sukhbaatar square
After the square it was time for a quick coffee break, a trip to the post office to send some postcards and our last e-mail check until Beijing. After that we visited the same Mongolian fast food restaurant we had eaten in last week for another helping of those delicious Mongolian dumplings. Mutton or not, these are really tasty and definitely one of the highlights, well, the only highlight really, of Mongolian cuisine.
We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping souvenirs in the State
Department Store. Perhaps not the most authentic place to go souvenir shopping, but this place definitely has the largest selection and is equally good for buying genuine Mongolian art, traditional instruments, tiny statues or the obligatory been there done that T-shirts.
Liberty Square with Tengis cinema in the back
At the end of the afternoon we went to see a movie in Mongolia's only real cinema, the modern but ugly concrete Tengis theatre. Like getting a haircut a visit to a cinema is also always a mandatory item on my travel itinerary. And what better movie to see in a country like Mongolia than the latest Indiana Jones? (well, ok, the Chinggis Khan biopic Mongol would have been an even better choice, but that one wasn't playing).
The movie itself was ok (which is a polite way of saying it sucked) but sitting in a theater packed with chatty Mongolians was a fun experience. The audience was very talkative, but also very enthusiastic and animated about all that happened on the screen. The best 1.11 euros we spent all trip!
As we were still stuffed from the late lunch we didn't really bother about dinner, and instead ended up in a little bar near the hotel where we spent the rest of the evening drinking cold beers and reminiscing on the great past two weeks in Mongolia.
This is definitely one of the best trips Robbel and I have done together (if not *the* best) with Mongolia firmly securing a spot in both our top 5 favorite countries list.