some Mongolian innovations

One of the ways Mongolians try to cut down on heat loss in buildings is through strategic opening of inner and outer banks of doors. If there are, say, 5 doors in a row at a big institution, like the museum or the university, they unlock the outer door on the far left, and the inner door on the far right. That means you walk through the outer door on one side, then walk over to the other side to go through the inner door. That way, much less air blows into the building from outside. At first I thought it was really silly to not open the two doors in a row for the outer and inner door, but then I caught on, and realized what they were doing!

Another nice feature is that the university has a free coat check. Just inside the door, the students leave their coats and get a token, then retrieve the coats when they leave. Coats take up a lot of room in small classrooms, and the building is very warm, with sunlight beating on the windows on the main side of the building all day. Students absolutely do not need their coats!

I noticed a lot of hubbub on the third floor at a glassed in office area, with many students waiting in line all the time. I was told that students can leave their assignments to be typed, and can also have copies made of anything they need, for a small fee. This apparently includes whole books! (hmmmmmm…)

Traditional Mongolian outdoor wear, at least in the city, is the dul, which is long enough to go to the knees, with a big sash in the middle for swagger. This is the key to keeping warm – to cover the “tush.” And Mongolia is a country of hats! Amazing ceremonial headgear for both women and men, and big hats worn by the men, kind of like cowboy hats/sombreros.


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