We have an apartment! Mr. High Standards, despite having consulted with two different agents from two different continents, neither of which was this continent, found a place on Facebook one evening, so we scampered off right away to see it. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, southern exposure in the living room, dining room, kitchen AND master bedroom, close to work and fully modernized.
The reason I mention “fully modernized” is that we have stopped looking at places in the new, high-end, expat-oriented buildings because we don’t like the neighborhood (they’re all clustered together, which means a bunch of construction sites and no trees) and usually don’t like the apartments either. Instead, we’ve been looking near where we’ve been staying and focusing more on the older buildings near the city center. Starting in the late 1930’s and continuing into the 1950’s, the original urban housing stock was built in increments of 40,000 units. Pictured above, these buildings are now known as “40,000 buildings” and are typically four stories high, with retail space on the ground floor and residential entryways off the interior courtyards. They are considered to be very solidly constructed: warm in the winter, cool in the summer and with thick walls that keep out the noise of the neighbors. Mr. H.S. was told by colleagues that they were built by Japanese prisoners of war, which is why the construction standard is so high (!).
Today was the walk-through with the landlord’s representative, and we’ll have a signed lease by Monday. I am desperate to get into our own, functional kitchen and unpack fully, but — and this is interesting — in traditional Mongolian culture, Saturdays and Tuesdays are not auspicious days for moving. Sunday is very auspicious, though, and as there’s an out-of-town excursion planned for us tomorrow, we’ll be moving Sunday. I figure it’s best to go with it; who knows how to move better than nomads, right?