Today’s track comes from an exotic place indeed: Mongolia. Mongolia is the most sparsely populated independent country in the world, and at least 30% of its population of 2.75 million is thought to be nomadic or semi-nomadic. Our track is located in the capitol city of Ulan Bator, which is home to around 45% of Mongolia’s people. Though Ulan Bator is a modern city whose downtown area looks much like any other urban center, a brief look at google maps will show that just outside the central districs, the prevailing housing structure is not the high-rise apartment building, nor the two story suburban house, but the traditional yurt.
All those white circles on the north side of the picture? Those are yurts. As you can see, people are living in yurts just feet away from what looks like a street with three lanes in both directions. This is less than one mile from the very center of the city. To put this in perspective, let’s take a look at Manhattan. We’ll (arbitrarily) call the Empire State Building the city center. If you started walking north along 5th avenue from there, people would be living in yurts before you got to Central Park.
About 7 miles southwest of the city, on the way to Genghis Khan International Airport, is one of the biggest tracks I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if it’s for running, or horses, or bicycles or what, but it looks to be about a mile around.
Here it is with the scale, for reference.
It’s huge! It also doesn’t look like it’s used very often, and the parking lot doesn’t look very big. Maybe it’s a field for one of those polo-type sports where they use a severed human head for a ball.