At the edge of town, not too far from where I live, is Zaisan Mountain. It is a mountain with a monument at the top to commemorate dead Russian soldiers. Jeremiah is a ping-pong fiend, but I am not. I am bad. There really is no other way to explain my lack of skills when it comes to ping-pong. Therefore, I made a bet that I could win at badminton, a game I familiar with and have played since my childhood. Badminton is like a lazy man’s tennis, but I never professed to being an athlete. We planned a fun day from cashmere shopping at the factory store, which is cheaper and also at the edge of town; climbing Zaisan Mountain, which has an amazing view of UB; playing badminton, which I did win at; and having a picnic, which was my first picnic!
After hitting up the cashmere store for gifts to all the amazing women in my life, back in the United States, we drove to Zaisan Mountain and had a picnic at the bottom of the mountain. As I write this, I realize that I’ve never had a real picnic where you sit down on the ground (picnic tables in parks don’t count). Amra spread out a mat from his car and we ate Russian calzones, American egg salad sandwiches, and Mongolian sweet rolls.
It started to sprinkle, but we played badminton despite the rain, laughing in the face of Mother Nature. I then climbed Zaisan Mountain, my legs turning to noodles afterwards. Because of the overcast day, Zaisan Mountain was covered with tourists like it is usually. Mostly, my friends and I had the place to ourselves. It was like we had rented the mountain for the afternoon.
Good company, good food, and lots of fun make for a very enjoyable Saturday. I even ended the day with spaghetti night dinner with my Mormon friends. Don’t judge! I can only eat foreign foods for so long before I need some American cuisine to balance my digestion.