Across Mongolia (Part 1): The Surreal Life: 12 July 2006 (Wednesday) – 13 July 2006 (Thursday)


I’m lying on a thermarest in a field surrounded by goats in the middle of central Mongolia. If this isn’t the surreal life, I’m not entirely sure what is. Let me fill you in on our interesting journey so far. I’d like to change the names to protect the innocent, but I doubt any of the innocent are truly innocent.

The Tuesday night began harmlessly enough in the Indian restaurant. Robin was adamantly refusing to drink any alcohol, but after Derek’s purchase of a bottle of Chinggis vodka, his attempts at refusal proved to be weak. We then twisted his rubber arm to go out to a night club. Jargalan suggested “Strings” which had a Filipino band playing “latin” music. The club was pretty much what you would expect in an Asian town, and the band was indeed playing “latin” music if by “latin” you mean Eurythmics. Having said that, the band was actually a good cover band with a very attractive lead singer.

From here, please skip to the next chapter if you are at all offended by guys hitting on girls and so on. I have warned you.

The complement who had decoded to go clubbing before out 8am start were: Derek, Scott, Steve, Robin, Sarah and myself. Jargalan had dropped us off and gleefully retired to bed. Prior to leaving the restaurant Robin had given all of us a pep talk. He reminded us how mad the ride was going to be and how it would be impossible to get anything such as battery chargers. I figured I’d have the morning to pack.

When we walked through the doors of the night club, it was pretty obvious how this night might end up. On the dance floor was a guy with a handlebar moustache dancing with a beautiful Mongolian girl – it was obvious that his tourist status was helping his chances in UB. We also noticed a table of very attractive women who were taking turns dancing. There was also a Russian guy sitting at a table downing beer as if he were caught in an unholy land and needed to drown his sorrows. Despite this he was being waited upon and hit on by two attractive Mongolian women. Derek found out that “Sergei the boxer” as he called him, disliked Mongolian women. We figured that he must have been a pimp to these women.

To put a long story short, we got drunk, I started dancing, and then we all started dancing. This led to Derek and I dancing with two of those aforementioned Mongolian girls. Sarah had told me earlier to make sure she didn’t get too drunk and to limit her alcohol. Never trust a drunk to take care of another drunk. Next thing I knew she was out singing and dancing with the rest of us and some Mongolian guys (at least I think this was what happened, my memories are a little hazy).

I was getting to know this cute Mongolian girl named Chimgee and getting progressively more inebriated. It was becoming quite obvious even in my inebriated state that she was expecting me to take her back to my hotel. This was where I surfaced out of my complete drunkenness, looked around and hazily realized that:

a) I was alone in the bar. Robin was missing and so was everyone else.

b) Derek was gone.

c) The girl dancing with Derek had also gone and she was a friend of Chimgee’s.

This led me to one conclusion. I was alone and Derek had likely taken the girl back to our hotel room. Chimgee insisted on giving me her phone number as I frantically tried to find my jacket (which I couldn’t find) and booked it back to the hotel. I managed to say the hotel’s name clearly enough to the taxi driver that he took me to the hotel and didn’t charge me an exorbitant amount.

As I arrived at the hotel, Robin showed up at the same time in a taxi. He then filled me in on the details. Steve, Sarah and Scott had been sent home in cabs and Derek and his lass had been sent in a separate cab. My worst fears were realized, Derek had picked up and I would need to sleep elsewhere tonight. Robin kindly offered the spare bed in his room, though I doubt he had much choice at this point considering my condition. Of course, looming in a mere three hours was our wake up call for beginning our trek. Sitting in Robin’s room, thoroughly drunk, I remember showing him Chimgee’s number (after all we had all admired her) and made a drunken attempt to place it carefully back in my pants’ pocket for later use. At which point I passed out.

Sharp at 7am, the door was shaken by hurried knocking urging Robin to get up. Still in a drunken haze, I scrambled for my pants and said to Robin… “Oh boy this is not going to look good at all” and certainly the shock on Lori’s face seeing me exit Robin’s room half undressed must have been pretty entertaining. Unfortunately I was completely drunk and bounced off a couple walls in exiting and little was registering in my brain other then the need to pack and have breakfast in thirty minutes.

I opened the door to Derek’s and my room hoping to find only Derek’s sleeping carcass, but of course the gods had not yet stopped playing with me. Eliciting a drunken shudder and chuckle, I vanished into the bathroom and let the couple continue their, ummm, love making. I am positive, I was still inebriated when I exited the shower, found my clothes, said hello to a half-naked Mongolian girl in a surreal moment and disappeared to have a semblance of breakfast. I had still not packed. After a quick realization that any food placed into my system would be rejected by my body in short order, I grabbed Steve and went to wake Scott. Fortunately, he had left his door open and it was easy to torment the poor guy out of bed. Next I headed back to my room where Derek bid farewell to the girl and I quickly packed my gear and sheepishly boarded the van with the still sobering Sarah, completely sick looking Scott and a relatively drunk and sleep-deprived Derek. Robin went with the other van.

Now can you understand my surreal life? A couple more points to round out the drunken evening, As karma would have it, I lost Chimgee’s number – ah well, I suspect that she would be easy to find Strings night club in UB should I or anyone else go back! Secondly, an hour into our road trip, Scott signals to Danielle and the van screeches to a halt as we see Scott retching into a plastic bag.

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