Friday, August 22, 2008

What season is it?

The other day at the center our Deputy Director (Enkhbaatar) mentioned that he had greeted someone recently by asking "saikhan zusaj baina uu?" (Are you summering well?), to which the person responded that it was no longer summer so he should have been asking "Are you autumning well?" This was on a day it was about 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Could it already be autumn in Mongolia?

Mongolian weather is fairly stable within seasons, but it becomes a capricious prankster in the transition between seasons. Autumn and spring in particular are times when one will invariably pick to wear long underwear on a day that starts out freezing and ends at 90 degrees or to leave the house without a jacket on a day that starts out mild and ends with two inches of snow.

This week has marked the first signs of the seasonal transition. It was so hot Tuesday in the ACMS that it was actually difficult to concentrate on work. By Friday it was a very brisk cold, and looking like it might dip below freezing over the weekend at night. It is truly Autumn. It feels and smells like it outside. It is not even September. At some point next month, I expect Enkhbaatar will ask someone if they are autumning well, and the person will respond, "Don't you mean am I 'wintering well'?" So it goes on the high Asian steppe...

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