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Sainshand

Sainshand is the capital of Dornogobi (East Gobi) Province. Dornogobi is in the driest part of Mongolia, 109,000 sq km with only 50,000 people. Most are nomads: 30,000 live in Sainshand, but this includes some who live there part of the year and on the desert the rest. The population of the province has tripled in the last 25 years.

Most of the people raise animals. There are over 1,000,000 of the "5 animals": camels, horses, cows (including yaks), sheep, and goats. There are also innumerable dogs. All are only semi-tamed, wandering the desert foraging for themselves. Most numerous are sheeps and goats (about 800,000 combined), since the cashmere and angorra they provide gets the best price on the world market. Unfortunately when they forage they pull up the plant roots, unlike horses and camels, which bite off the leaves and stem. This is providing increasing stress on the desert environment.

Outside of animals there is little else available. In Sainshand there is government work, and the main importance of Sainshand to the outside world is the location there of a commercial aviation radar station that is on the main highway from Beijing to Europe - over 60 flights a day pass over Sainshand, flying north from Beijing and turning left to Europe at the radar beacon.

There is an abandoned oil field not too far away that was overpumped by the Soviets, and then destroyed when they left. I have heard there are serious environmental problems there - people have stolen well caps for their metal value, so uncapped wells are still splashing oil out. An American has lived there for 9 years trying to resurrect the field, but so far has had no luck.

And there is currently an Asian Development Bank team working on building a road across the desert.


Painted gateway

Princess Di stamps at the post office (note Mother Theresa in the background of one)

Civic auditorium

Athletic center
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