By Julian Dierkes
Back in October 2013, I made a list of things that are arriving to/disappearing from central Ulaanbaatar.
I’ve copied that list here and am adding to it. New items since October 2013 that I’m adding in May 2014 in italics.
What has arrived?
- sadly, Louis Vuitton and KFC
- Mini, Bentley
- child seats
- parks [these are closely linked to Bat-Uul’s election win in 2012]
- farmers’ markets
- dogs on leashes
- Sunday morning joggers and bikers
- coffee culture
What has disappeared, or at least nearly?
Note that some of these may be due to seasonal changes, as I hadn’t been in Ulaanbaatar in September before my last winter, really only in summer or winter.
- stationary 80s-office-phone-looking old-granny cell phone booth
- for-pay scales
- free WiFi on Sukhbaatar, er Chinggis Khaan Square
- Sukhbaatar Square
- open gullys/missing manholes
- street kids
- packs of dogs
- the sixth-floor souvenir shop at the State Department Store (though perhaps seasonal)
- oversized sunglasses for women that were so popular across Asia (?) some years ago
- Nescafe (see above on coffee culture)
What will appear in the future
- navigation systems
- wheelchair accessibility
- bike lanes
- city park along the Tuul
- new airport (apparently)
- subway (really, I wish they had selected light rail instead)
- sports cars
- urban renewal and historical restorations embracing district north of government house (National University of Mongolia, German embassy, etc.)
- road signs in the countryside
- street names and signs in the city
- network of cross-country riding trails
- parking (meters)
What will disappear in the near future
I’m going out on a predictive limb here… 2-3 years is what I mean by “near future”.
- stray dogs
- stretched-out hand to signal for a car ride
- that awkward extra half-step on most stairs
What will disappear in the medium-term future
I mean around 5 years or so.
- new (to Mongolia) cars that are right-hand drive
- the neo-classical Ministry of Foreign Affairs building, with its Stalinist (if that’s an architectural style) spire
- deels in the city
- some of the downtown university campuses
- buildings of 4 floors or less in the urban core.