Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mongolian open house aka drink three times

drinking airig in the big bowl, my counterpart, Happy
So this was my first Mongolian house warming party, and as usual my invitation was at the last minute. (those who like to play it loose and not worry about making plans, etc. would love the easy going way things are done here). The man here is not the host, but a friend/coworker of the host. This is the chemistry teacher who speaks some English. He was serving up the airig, fermented mares milk, which is one of the popular drinks you must drink three times here ceremoniously. You get the big bowl full of airig, take three drinks, pass it back, it's refilled, then passed to the next person.

Airig looks, smells and tastes something like watery, sour yogurt. You can see in the background some of the juice, water, milk tea, fruit and many types of salads which were served to us upon arrival.

Me drinking the Mongolian national vodka, which is made from cow's milk (I kid you not), and looks and takes like airig, only this is clear. I'm drinking it from a cow's horn cup..... will wonders never cease....

On left, my fave chemistry teacher, and in striped shirt, our host (can't remember his name or what he teaches). After the airig and Mongolian vodka were passed around, we then moved on to the bottled Vodka. It is customary on both types of vodka to drink three shots. Whoa..... this is a big drinking country.... I did it, they were impressed, then thank goodness we left so I could go home and rest!
our hostess in orange sweater was busy serving, washing up and serving some more that she never enjoyed anything with us.
After all the drinking, we were then served dinner...each plate individually prepared with rice, beet salad, carrot salad and boats (little steamed dumplings with mutton)... What a lot of work for the hostess...
I was expecting to have to sing a Mongolian song, which I would have done when forced to, but perhaps that all happened later. As we were leaving, more teachers were coming in, so maybe the singing was led later by the men who were there when we arrived and still there when we left and by my count, had way more than 3 shots each during the time we were there!
You know what they say, when in Mongolia...

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