two aussies and a spainiard walk into mongolia……

sain baina uu!

well, two weeks just flies by round here. things are coming along great and will be helped greatly by the recent arrival of fiona, and the imminent arrival of nacho.

i made some more great contacts with some charities working here – save the children and cristina noble foundation. save the children have got back to me with news that they look after a few kids who are using hip hop to tell their stories, so next week we will head out and see what they have to say. and edward at the cristina noble foundation told me the only thing worse than hip hop, was mongolian hip hop, but he was fascinated by the project and interested to see if any of the street kids they work with were interested in and or using hip hop to tell their lives tales. we will also join him at a later date when they do the rounds of the street kids – what i believe is a twice a week health check and food and clothes distribution.

also, i joined jana again – with fi and around 50 kids from disadvantaged families (along with a handful of moms) and got out of ub for the day (my first time!!) it was an activies day, and led by the scout group, we were taken about 20km east out of town, down a rugged dirt and ice track, and to the base of a few large hills, covered in a dusting of snow and, best of all, out of the poillution that hangs over ulaanbaatar. at the blast of a whistle, we all lined up and named our groups (we were the hawks) and then, another blast, we all turned to the right, and another blast!!! we took off. at the bottom of the hill, we were told it was a race, but about 30meters up the hill, it came apparent that the mission was just to make it up. snotty kids, overheating westerners, mums with handbags, and (my fave) young moms wearing deadly heels all joined together as we made our way up the snowy incline.

at the top of the mountian, after lunch, a blind comando course, and reaching the peak, we asked who was into hip hop, and had a few kids jump about. there was a gorgeous 13 year old who got dobbed in as a beatboxer, then chased thru the trees by her mates till she finally agreed to bust out some beats, and two 16 year old girls who were really into their hip hop and, along with singing a few raps, also did a complete dance routine amongst the birch trees and snow. also, a young guy had started a band and had written a track that he pelted out, and others eagerly sang some other popular hits of the moment. it was a great to get out of the city and hike about in fresh air, and the kids loved it – for some of them, it was their first time out of the city, and for most of the others, it was only events like this that enables them to get out. huge thanks to jana for organising us to get out there – and also for the great photos from last email!! sorry jana!!!

on the other end of the hip hop scale, i met my hero, quiza. he’s one of the countries top artist, and his lyrics are regarded as pretty switched on – theres a fair bit of commercial crap out there, and although most albums tend to have a love track interlude (or are entire love songs!!!) i really dig his stuff. fiona has been spending hours with our translator, oyenbileg working out what all these guys are going on about!! i’m working on organising a workshop with some of the top artists here, and having kids from the street and disadvantaged families who are interested in hip hop come along and spend a day workign with these guys on music. i put it to quiza, and he’s all for the idea – throwing up ideas for tv ads, spots on radio shows and ads in papers!! will try and work out more details this weekend. quiza should start shooting a film clip next week which, if its anything like his last one, will be pretty awsome.

the “up and coming” hip hop artist i;m following, gee, shot a film clip for his latest single. intersting, the song is a “dis” at quiza. quiza had a track where he dis’s all mongolian rappers (a seemingly popular theme in mongolian hip hop) and gee;s track gets back at him. in a beautifully ironic moment, we got picked up at the………BUDDHIST MONASTARY in a………..bright red HUMMER H2, then went to the outskirts of town, and with his mates, shot a clip – gee singing the whole thing in the back seat of the hummer. this is the track that features mg – the 10 year old i told you about last time who’s film clip is also in a hummer. seems to be a theme running here!

in other themes, a bunch of us had a bbq for australia day!!! mongolian bbq!! there was beer and laughs and, after swinging by a brit’s bar (thanks dave’s place), we strolled out onto the crease of the main square in ub and had a few hours of cricket!! then more hours of beer drinking. and then i think more hours of dancing. i’m in a new apartment now, a gorgeous little 2 bedroom in a pretty cool spot, so coming home drunk at 5 in the morning is no longer a sin, and we are getting ready for nacho – arrives tomorrow night. fiona is setling in and is speaking mongolian, drinking vodka, and getting right into it (currently at the black market getting nacho a bed!) and we are all set to explode with loads of interviews and filming over the next month. should be one hell of a trip!

nacho arrives in 24 hours, so best go stock the fridge with vodka so he knows he’s in mongolia.

happy oz day to all and hope you’re all doing great! benj

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