We arrived on the outskirts of our destination and were greeted by a large and majestic winged war monument dedicated to the Soviets and Mongolians of the Khalkin Gol conflict. It was sadly evident that no one has worked to maintain it. Like so many other monuments, it was in disrepair.
Wild marijuana plants grew everywhere. I uprooted one from a crack in the steps and placed it into my knapsack. “This plant has great medicinal and recreational properties!” I explained to our guide who had no idea what it was. “I’m a nurseryman and a slave dog lackey of Yankee capitalists and I see this as a potentially lucrative cash export product to the US!”
From the monument, we could see down below, the small town of Halgol on the Khalka River. It can aptly described as “comatose” rather than “sleepy.”By American standards, it is a slum.
Marijuana plant grows on the steps of the winged monument. Locals are unfamiliar with the plant.
When the Soviets left Mongolia overnight, locals ransacked and destroyed public buildings for fixtures and scrap metal.
There were many abandoned and gutted buildings. When the Russians left overnight after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the locals looted and ransacked the public buildings. Doors, window sills, wiring, fixtures, and anything of value were stripped and carted away. Scrap metal made their way to China. People were milling about or just sitting and chatting with friends and neighbors. “What is the big industry here?” I asked Chinzor. “There is no industry here,” he replied. “People just stay here and survive.”