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  • Writer's picture Kester Eddy

Oyunaa Makes it Home – well, OK, a Hotel close to Home

Yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon, I looked up Oyunaa Luvsan, the PhD student from Mongolia who you may remember was stuck in Hungary when we last spoke to her.

She was hoping for a seat on an “official” Mongolian Airlines repatriation flight back to Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital (See post from 25 July).

Frustrated after months of waiting for her government to get on with the job, Oyunaa had created a facebook page on which she and fellow suffering, marooned, Mongolians could vent their wrath on their less-than-caring authorities, who could only muster two planes per month from Europe.

Well, the good news is that, despite her, let's call it 'activism' – or perhaps because of it – Oyunaa is back in her home city – albeit quarantined in a swish hotel for 21 days, to be followed by an additional 14 days quarantine at home. (Nothing, if not thorough is the Mongolian government.)

This is how she wrote to me in an email.

“Kester, I was about to write you. Thanks to press release and all these efforts, 53 Mongolians in Hungary finally arrived in Mongolia on the 9 August [ie last Sunday], including me. It was a long journey to come back home.”

Actually, “swish” is perhaps not the most apt description of her enforced hotel sojourn.

It's not exactly 'home-from-home' – she can't see Nami, her 10-year old daughter, or her parents for another 18 days (even though they are, presumably, no more than a few kilometres distant) and food is delivered by folks in “hamzat suits” - presumably some form of protective clothing. (It definitely does not sound like it excites the gastric juices.)

A nurse, also sporting the latest in 'hamzat suits', takes her temperature now and again.

“Basically i feel like i am in jail house for 21 days,” she wrote.

But Mongolians are nothing if not stoic, and Oyunaa is up there among the best. She continued: “However, as i am mongolian citizen, this is my duty to follow my government's degree (sic).”

None of this comes courtesy of the Mongolian taxpayer, you understand. Transport to Frankfurt, air fare and quarantine accommodation is setting Oyunaa back some MNT 5 million (that's Mongolian Tughriks, but I'm sure you knew that anyway) – about €1,500.

Of course, as the ancient English saying puts it, one plane a full evacuation doth not make – and the exodus of 53 last weekend still leaves a whole bunch of Oyunaa's compatriots stuck in the land of puszta and Unicum – 178 according to the last count.

Some of those are understood to have made it to Prague to hitch a ride on a flight to Ulaanbaatar generously laid on by the Czech government to evacuate scores of stranded Mongolians otherwise doomed to a diet of Plsner Urquell, roast pork and dumplings for eternity.

That was due to land in Mongolia last night.

This last bit all goes to show the much lauded Visegrad-Four cooperation is more than mere rhetoric, I suppose. Whatever, I'm sure readers of Perspectives-Budapest will be delighted to hear of Oyunaa's safe return home and wish her a wonderful reunion with her family in a little over a fortnight.

ps Oyunaa was too shy to take a selfie for you: the piccie is the view of the Mongolian capital from her hotel window last night.

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