Friday, January 15, 2010

Extreme Sports #1: WALKING

Ulaanbaatar is an ice skating rink right now. In order to walk anywhere, one must add an extra 15 minutes to total journey time to allow for small steps, drawn-out road crossings and unpredicted ice spills. No shoe is good enough, although if anyone has any golf shoes, I'd be happy to give them a whirl. Mongolian women, ever-resilient, still manage to get around in stiletto boots, so my respect level for them has trebled since the frozen streets of doom appeared.

There are a number of techniques employed to survive the extreme sport of 'Walking in Mongolia in Winter'. I have outlined a few.

The #1 move in town, the Mongolian Shuffle bears some resemblance to its globally renowned cousin the Melbourne Shuffle. Consisting of small, simple foot movements where the feet remain firmly planted to the ground, it's the easiest way to cruise along an icy street with little fear of connecting a coccyx with the concrete. Allow me to demonstrate below.

Use your shoes as makeshift ice skates and just slide along the ice to your destination. It's quicker and a whole lot more entertaining. Allow Sam + Clare to demonstrate below:

The practice of walking through dirt, debris and trees to avoid actual paths and streets, thereby reducing exposure to ice. I employ this technique at every opportunity.

Women often walk arm-in-arm and strangers at intersections have been known to grab unfamiliar elbows when crossing the road. This would seem to be a measure employed to aid stability, but I have another theory that it's just in practice to distribute the humiliation of a face plant a little more evenly, should one occur.

I have collided with the ice on four occasions to date. I'm still counting.


  1. Haha! This should continue! One of the things that everyone does yet no one thinks about writing. Liked it a lot. If you're really into sports, be sure to check out my post about 7 iconic athletes of Mongolia: Cheers!

  2. Awesome! Gundegmaa is my new hero...