It is now summer, even if not according to the stars. There are white and pink blossoms in the thick air. The wind blows the heat and sand into one's face. Black flies are omnipresent.
I discussed "being other" with my colleague Simon Wickham-Smith, translator of Danzanravjaa (see Perfect Qualities) and the founder of CCALT: Center for Central Asian Literatures in Translation, who is in Mongolia for about six weeks. We decided that a good way to describe Mongolians is with the word "hard". There is no "excuse me" to be heard when someone is trying to get by. They just shove you. Of course to foreigners this feels like a breach of one's personal space, but it's perfectly acceptable in Mongolia; to be honest, I've adjusted to it.
Finally, there is the question of how to order names. I am of the opinion that it is important to retain the order of Mongolian names: father's name first with the genitive, or possessive, noun-case suffix followed by the given name. For example, Ganbatiin (or G.) Delgermaa (aka, my dear friend Degi). Simon has taken to reversing the order to fit the West's habit: Delgermaa Ganbat. What do you think?