There is a Mongolian proverb that goes something like this:
If you drink the water
follow the customs.
This is considered by many to parallel the proverb:
When in Rome
Do as the Romans do.
It comes up every once in a while and something about it has kept me wondering about its validity, particularly in my current situation here in Mongolia. I think that the proverb needs to be metaphorically elongated in my own situation. Here's why: I don't drink the water directly. And this is important: after I get my water from the guy with a horse and cart it goes into my water container and awaits the day when it is put into this:
I drink the water but distilled. Application: Tsagaan Sar + Vegetarianism = invite people over to your place for vegetable buuz from the local vegetarian restaurant. Can you skip the distilling process? Yes. Some people can seemingly do so without any negative consequences. Others of us get giardia.
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