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The Nomad's Ger
January 29, 2012 7:39 AM   Subscribe

A time-lapse video of a Mongolian family assembling a yurt near the Russian border.
posted by gman (22 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
It took me 2 hours to put together my record shelves from Ikea and they put together a home in an hour and five minutes?!?!
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:44 AM on January 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


My jaw dropped a bit when I saw how smoothly the wheel and spokes integrated with the fencelike wall. I didn't give them nearly enough design credit. Pretty excellent.
posted by Shutter at 7:52 AM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love the little kid who's running around going CAN I HELP I WANT TO HELP GRANDPA LEMME HELP
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 7:59 AM on January 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


That cute child helping with the poles is adorable. No more wool felt, just plastic sheetings for the covering?
posted by francesca too at 8:01 AM on January 29, 2012


I think this one is for Summer use. In the old days they used felt all through the year. It was from the wool of Bactrian camels and you don't need plastic.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 8:10 AM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love yurts. This was great.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 8:25 AM on January 29, 2012


That was really neat, thank you! Made me want to watch a whole documentary on that family.
posted by moonbuggy at 8:27 AM on January 29, 2012


I would just like to chime in that I smoked a joint before I saw the movie "Babies", and the Mongolian scenes were especially terrifying.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:40 AM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've recently read that Mongolians prefer the word "ger" over "yurt," as "ger" is the Mongolian word and "yurt" is the Russian word, and gers differ from yurts. More on the evolution of gers and yurts.

Also, in Mongolia, they hunt wolves with eagles.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:56 AM on January 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


I have a friend who's in the Peace Corps in Mongolia, and living in a ger. He's got some posts about building a ger, and what the interior is like.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:57 AM on January 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Mongolians prefer the word "ger" over "yurt," as "ger" is the Mongolian word and "yurt" is the Russian word, and gers differ from yurts.

If it's a different word for something else, I can see why they prefer it.
posted by DU at 9:30 AM on January 29, 2012


According to Wikipedia, "the ger is often wrongly referred to by westerners as a yurt but differs in that the heavier roof wheel (toono) is supported on posts and the roof ribs are straight rather than bending down at the wall junction. The wall lattice is of a ger is constructed of straight pieces as opposed to the yurt's curved lattice."
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:33 AM on January 29, 2012


Neat video, with gorgeous music. I grew up on a commune, and several people had hippie yurts. (Different from Russian yurts and Mongolian gers in that they were build in the 70s by beardy back-to-the-landers.) Some were more like gers, with the slats and fabric, and some were wood. There was even a two-story yurt. They're incredibly cozy spaces--I've wanted one ever since.

Also in Mongolia: Contortionism is a national sport.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 9:43 AM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think the point is that vast majority of people don't have a fine-grained knowledge of what yurts or gers are. Between that and Russian cultural influence, the vast majority of English-speakers are inclined to call any sort of yurt-like structure a "yurt," treating any hypothetical differences as differences amongst yurts.

This has been my dose of small structure pedantry for the day.

Also, that video is awesome. Mongolians can build three perfectly good houses in the time it takes to watch Titanic.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:43 AM on January 29, 2012


What's also impressive to me is that there's no one in the video stopping the whole process to say, "You know what, I think that other corner of the field kind of has a nicer view of that tree, I mean, maybe only those of us who ride the horses really care about whether there's a nice tree near them, but it wouldn't be that hard, right? And how come no one is listening when I keep saying that I like it when the door faces northeast, why are we making it face southeast? Let's have a secret ballot about who wants the door facing my way. I know that Grandpa would like that because he likes sunsets more than sunrises and I don't want him to hurt his eyes when he looks out the door, but I don't want to bias anyone or anything."

Not that MY family would be like that, nuh-uh....
posted by argonauta at 10:00 AM on January 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Mongolians can build three perfectly good houses in the time it takes to watch Titanic.

Assemble; not build — there's a big difference.
This has been my dose of small structure pedantry for the day.


That video was great. It was also fun learning the difference between a yurt and a ger in this thread. It also makes me feel like a total sucker for paying $800/month for a little sunless hole in a "great neighborhood."
posted by heyho at 10:01 AM on January 29, 2012


Given that most of the materials for the ger could be carried around in the van, I wonder if there isn't a lesson for Habitat for Humanity here. Perhaps use the same model to ship out compact, movable (mostly) waterproof and reasonably airtight temporary homes?
posted by ding-dong at 10:49 AM on January 29, 2012


Mongolians prefer the word "ger" over "yurt," as "ger" is the Mongolian word and "yurt" is the Russian word, and gers differ from yurts.

What do they call the Toyota minivan they drove up in? I imagine they all went back to the hotel bar after filming this.
posted by three blind mice at 10:59 AM on January 29, 2012


The builders should have placed the heavy pieces like the wheel and stove first and then raised the structure around them, rather than bringing them in after putting up the tiny door. Perhaps they had their reasons but it looks inefficient to my eyes. I would hate think that I know more about raising yurts or gers than people who have been presumably doing it their entire lives.
posted by euphorb at 12:44 PM on January 29, 2012


I would hate think that I know more about raising yurts or gers than people who have been presumably doing it their entire lives.

HEY, HEY YOU! THAT THING YOU'VE BEEN DOING FOR YEARS AND I'VE NEVER DONE, BUT JUST SAW A VIDEO OF YOU DOING?! I TOTALLY KNOW HOW TO DO IT BETTER.

It's not an exact science. If you watch the video closely, you'll notice that they reposition the center wheel to make the rods fit within its slots and on the surrounding frame. It helps to have that frame up and sturdy (i.e. include the doors) so that when the rods are attached nothing moves too much. It would suck to get the structure up and then realize the door doesn't quite fit.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:03 PM on January 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


> I think the point is that vast majority of people don't have a fine-grained knowledge of what yurts or gers are. Between that and Russian cultural influence, the vast majority of English-speakers are inclined to call any sort of yurt-like structure a "yurt," treating any hypothetical differences as differences amongst yurts.

Yes, exactly, and there's nothing wrong with that; in fact, it's inevitable. It's hard to conceive of a situation that would impel a critical mass of English-speakers to learn and remember a distinction between similar structures that play no role in their lives. So one's approach, if one is the type that likes to show off one's superior knowledge of things foreign (and I can't say I'm immune to that tendency), should be "Say, did you know the Mongolians call those things ger, and actually build them differently?" rather than "You idiot, can't you tell a ger from a yurt??" (While we borrowed yurt from Russian, by the way, it's a bit misleading to call it a Russian word, since Russian borrowed it from Turkish, or rather from one or more of the Turkic languages, in which it's an ancient word for 'dwelling place,' ranging in sense from 'house' to 'country'; in modern Turkish it means either 'homeland' or 'student dormitory.')
posted by languagehat at 3:03 PM on January 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


This reminded me of set-up day at hundreds of outdoor art shows.
Notable differences:
-I rarely saw stoves in the tents (occasionally there would be yurts)
-There seemed to be a serious lack of bickering among the people
-No eagles killing wolves (although my friend's dog got attacked by a falcon from the school next to the show at Hildene)
posted by MtDewd at 8:22 AM on January 30, 2012


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