Some of the Mongolians who went to the Naadam opening ceremonies were well dressed and were wearing medals that intrigued me. I think the medals became a part of Mongolian culture when Mongolia was part of the Soviet Union: according to Wikipedia* (I know, I didn’t feel like digging further than this), “Awards and decorations of the Soviet Union… recognized achievements and personal accomplishments, both military and civilian.”
As we were leaving I saw a woman covered in medals and I wanted to get a picture. Tom used his Mongolian (which is coming in handy) to ask if we could take a photo. She happily obliged– Mongolians are known for being friendly and hospitable– and invited us to be in the picture too.
After photos we sat down and talked with her and her group, and she told us the medals are from her work as a teacher, which is a well respected profession in Mongolia. You can see Tom chatting away with our new friends.