Yesterday’s letter about Mongolia and Central Asia, brought back memories of The Rapid Traveler’s visit to Mongolia in 2005. At the time Ulan Bator was a dusty town of yurts and faded Soviet and Chinese apartment blocks. The only excitement was then-US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s motorcade zipping back and forth on the one big avenue. Expat families ate at the Marco Polo restaurant and the single expats went up the stairs to the Marco Polo bar and strip club.
The global commodities boom has drastically reshaped Mongolia in less than a decade. Businessweek’s Foreign Money Invades China tells of the money parachuting into the country and the attempts by the government to responsibly shepherd the growth. Wall Journal Magazine’s The Luxury Frontier shows the rise of a new financial elite. Both have excellent slideshows.