Defending the 12th century since the 14th; blogging since the 21st.

Catholicism, Conservatism, the Middle Ages, Opera, and Historical and Literary Objets d'Art blogged by a suburban dad who teaches law and writes stuff.

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Who was Cacciaguida? See Dante's PARADISO, Cantos XV, XVI, & XVII.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Putting the ger in Ratzinger, bay-beee: We went out to one last night (Wednesday). To a ger, that is (Mongolian word for yurt, which turns out to be a Russian word). It wasn't a functioning nomad community: more of a Mongolian Wild West Show, featuring demonstrations of Mongolian wrestling, horse-racing, shamanic dancing, music, and archery. The site has numerous gers that you can rent: our host rented one for us to rest in before dinner, and another (bigger) one to have dinner in.

To justify the pun in the title, I should mention that I carried Catholicism into the Mongolian countryside by answering religious questions that some in our group had. It was fun. A ger, made of heavy felt, has a strange way of keeping noise out and creating a very quiet environment inside. For families who live in them, however, there is no Western-style notion of privacy. That new Mongolians ever get made is, I suppose, a testament to the pacifying power -- re other family members -- of the ger.

The sun had set by the time we returned to town. Night is the best time to see Ulaanbaatar: it's less visible that way.

The best thing about the outing was Monkhuu's stream of jurisprudential questions. His mind goes a mile a minute, and he is fearless in using his limited English to try to overcome the inherent untranslatablity (into Mongolian) of many Anglo-American legal concepts. I mean, how would you answer "What is due process?" and "What is equity?" in such a situation? Given time and patience, I think we achieved some breakthroughs. Btw, Munkhuu is a Hayek fan, dislikes Rawls, and is trying to translate David Boaz's Libertarianism into Mongolian.

Thirty-seven-and-a-half hours to wheels-up, according to schedule. Guardian angel, pray for me.

EDITED TO ADD: I've found out why it's cool here. It's not because Mongolian summers are cool: it's because Mongolian autumns begin in August. First snow is expected in September. From November to April, temperatures below zero will be constant.