Petey Goes To Mongolia–Part II

No cat food in Mongolia? How can that be?

I have seen a few dogs and processed food to feed them, but the poor cat,
woman’s best friend, has been forgotten. The famed felines seem to be dearly loved, but mainly in theory and on Hello Kitty paraphernalia.

Store after store understands what I’m searching for, that is after reenacting a desperate cat trying to shovel food into its mouth. “Meow,” I cry in my best Petey imitation. The clerk meows in return, then shrugs and nods her head, sorry to disappoint me.

The game of charades seems entertaining to most, but futile for poor Petey,
who doesn’t approve of his creative dining options. He wants Friskies, preferably beef or salmon, and he wants them now. While hot on their trail I see the sites of Ulaan Baatar.


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Sukhbaatar Square


The town is a child of the communist era, a Soviet satellite that has seen better times, or maybe not. Crumbling sidewalks and dreary concrete buildings, with a pastel-painted theater thrown in for good measure, landscape downtown.

However, “progress” has begun. Tall cranes stand on the horizon ready to build skyscrapers and a new democracy rich with gold, copper and uranium. Will this new-found mineral wealth benefit the country or destroy its pristine land the roaming horses and two-humped camels? The battle is just beginning.

The modern world is also encroaching with sleek coffeehouses and fancy restaurants, hidden inside unassuming structures, offering top-notch cappuccino and pasta, as well as Korean barbeque and locally brewed German-style beer.


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Genghis Khan


Bronzed statues of powerful Mongol warriors dot the Parliament building on Sukhbaatar Square, paying homage to a culture that once was the most powerful on the planet. Old men walk around in their winter dell, a wool-lined coat of bright silk, and embroidered felt boots, cozy fur hats covering their heads.


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Traditional winter wear

While Petey sheds a few pounds, refusing boiled chicken and fresh liver, I go to museums and cashmere stores, tempted by buttery soft sweaters and warm scarves. Camel hair, angora and top-notch cashmere are some of Mongolia’s gifts to the world, not to mention the creation of felt, the first fabric, still used for housing and clothes.

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Kris in Mongolia in borrowed fur hat

My nanny job ends when I leave the country without a carrying case and furry bundle meowing at my feet. Petey is Mongolian now and will have to survive in a new world with an exotic diet of homemade dinners, nothing packaged, nothing canned. He will soon be a convert to fresh food; I will be looking for another cat to traipse around the world with.

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