…..Meanwhile…….75˚ warmer in Australia…..
drinks with some mates on last night
In the last week we also got a load of great media for the project. We were guests on HiFi Radio, as well as Mongol National Radio and even got a slot on Triple J back in Australia – we were filming the end of a sunrise at the time and JJJ had some issues getting onto me as my phone, complete with full battery wasn’t coping to well with -40˚C! Back in the warmth of the Clinic, they finally got thru and we had a chat to the guys doing lunch. We also had a mission to get 500 fans on our Facebook group – something that happened literally hours before we departed UB.
With the curfew gone, we were able to start seeing live music again and managed to see Altan Urag – one of the countries most exciting band playing at a bar. They are a young group who have been trained traditionally and are now creating their own music in a bid to keep youth interested in the country’s beautiful music history. The result is an incredible range of atmospheric and heavy music that combines traditions and modern influences. We got to interview them just prior to them playing a private Xmas gig.
The only missing part on Friday night was some footage of Gee at work – he had initially said we couldn’t film him at work, then decided that we could, but then got sick and was in bed for our final week. We were lined up for Saturday morning but he wasn’t answering his phone so Nacho and Seggie jumped in a taxi and took off out there – he called en route and they met up and managed to get some great footage of him running about the market getting food for his mum’s store in his hood. Meanwhile Steve and I were furiously cleaning the apartment and getting ready to depart. After lunch we managed to finally interview Shintsog, an incredible musician whom I also met last time who showed us the ins and outs of the morin khuur (cello-like instrument) and khuumi (throat singing).
We made a quick call to the train station to find out about availability of tickets (as it was coming from Russia, they only went on sale the day before it stopped by Ulaanbaatar) and with the help of Seggie and Tuya (who vouched for us as I didn’t have passports – thanks Tuya!) we got the tix. We had dinner with the crew (although missed saying goodbye to our favourite waitress as the venue was closed – bye Haja! Thanks!) After dinner, a few mates dropped in and then we made our way over to see Dj Nacho play a set at the prestige Lan Club! What was billed as a ‘Samba Latino House’ Mix turned out to be more of a ‘My Favourite Reggae + Dub Tunes Drunkenly Mixed’ Mix, but the crowd were loving it and a whole lotta mates came down to bid us farewell.
The after party at our house was interrupted when we realised that we had a train to catch in an hour, and we frantically packed up the rest of our gear, made the place and respectable as possible, and with Seggie shouting at us (she was really keen to make sure we didn’t miss our train and employ her further!) we hugged Gennie goodbye (she had stayed up with us all night – even outlasting Katherine, our No. 1 groupie), crammed into the waiting taxi and made our way to the station. With watery eyes (its really polluted down near the train station) we hugged and kissed the amazing Seggie goodbye and slowly the train pulled out of UB and our home for the last 2 months.
The train ride to Beijing is 33 hours and it was a great opportunity for us to have another final bottle of vodka, record a rap for Seggie (we had upset her on the last Friday – sorry Seggie!) and record possibly the first clip to be shot entirely on the Trans-Siberian Train. Nacho also managed a few siestas.
There was only one way to describe Beijing. And that way was “tropical”. It was minus 10 or so and we felt great to lose the thermals and not choke on frozen snot from breathing thru your nose. We crashed at Van’s place – Steve and I for one night and Nacho sticking around for a few days to conquer the Great Wall. We had a meal with mates that night, then lugged everything to the airport for the final leg. In Australia it was about 50˚C warmer and frankly, fucking gorgeous! Bridget met us and gave us a tour of Melbourne Airport Carpark in search of the missing ticket, and a few hours later we were all at The Standard with a few mates.
Having now adjusted to outside being warm, reduced coal smoke inhalation, a diet that’s less than 80% mutton, and surviving Xmas and New Years (all that drinking in Mongolia came in handy after all!) we are setting up for editing. Benj is back in Violet Town and is setting up a space that he and Nacho will start to edit the film in, with Steve heading up to help out with the sound. Nubar has secured us a place at this years Australian International Documentary Conference and we are working hard to get something together in time to submit it to the Melbourne International Film Festival.
We’re all catching up this week – along with Bojun (story consultant), Mikey (media guru) and Griff (soundtrack and mixing) to plan the next stage and get stuck into it.
Thanks a million for all the support during our time in Mongolia. We now will be a bit quieter as we edit away, but make sure you stick around – we’ll have updates and should have a cut ready in a few months. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and the Blog – check out www.mongolianbling.com for the latest.
Also huge thanks to everyone in Mongolia who has helped us the last few months, especially Seggie – it has been amazing working with you and I cant wait to catch up. Also shout out to Katherine for being our No. 1 groupie, Oyunbileg for sorting out transport and bedding, the Clinic for keeping us warm on cold Mongolian nights, Tomor for amazing driving to Khentii, Bola for her article in ‘Today’, Amra at HiFi Radio, Saraa at Mongol National Radio, Vanessa for personal delivery of my new camera, Griff and Trace for making the mission out there and helping out with sound and image, the sheep of Mongolia for providing us with food, Quentin for photography, the taxi drivers that didn’t rip us off, and everyone else in UB – foreign and local – who took interest in the project, helped us out, or shared their vodka with us.
And of course, huge thanks and respect all the people who participated in the doco and gave up their time for us.
Tsogo and his family
Oskoo and Telmuun
Batush and Airy of Crush
Erka and Tungaa of Altan Urag
Shintsog of Domog
This doco is for you. Well, it’s about you.
Benj and Team Bling