Across Mongolia (Part 3): Feasting on Flies: 14 July 2006 (Friday)

On our second day we drove north. We had the same van configuration except Robin and Jargalan switched. We were to spend our night in another tourist Gir camp which was close to an extinct volcano with a perfectly shaped Caldera. All of us (minus Derek) piled into the Twinkies and drove to the nearby volcano. Our plan was to climb this small crater (about 100-150m high) and then walk back to the Gir camp which we could see in the distance. Our vans dropped the groups at different paths – apparently the vans, drivers and groups were competing! Nevertheless, we all managed to get up to the rim only to realize one small flaw in our plan. We were all surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands, of flies. The deet and other protection we had layered up on proved totally useless. Robin, Jargalan and I began our tricky descent on the pathless side of the crater. The pumice from an eruption was everywhere, plotting to trip and break the ankle of any unfortunate hiker. The others (Scott, Sarah, Lori, Steve and Barbro) were behind us.

Having reached the base with Jargalan and Robin, we realized that Lori was going to take a while to get down. This time she was being shepherded by Barbro. Interestingly, in all the time we had taken to climb down, none of us had yet seen either of the Twinkies. We decided that Jargalan and I would start our walk to the Gir camp, while Robin would wait for everyone and hopefully catch a Twinkie.

What had happened was that one of the vans had had a flat unbeknownst to any of us. Regardless Jargalan and I walked back 4 km or so to the camp surrounded by flies. I swear I swallowed a good many of them. Mieko, who had descended to the vans, actually walked the entire rim, walked to the vans, realized the situation with the flat tire and walked to the camp and caught up with us. If I am in that good a shape at 62 I will be very happy. Scott and Sarah followed our walk and eventually the Twinkies picked everyone else and beat us to the camp.

Having eaten much protein from the flies, Robin, Derek and I helped pump air into the van’s tire with a bicycle pump. Intrepid, please buy your drivers better pumps! We gathered around a Gir getting drunk on vodka, though this night I declined to participate in inebriation.

A few notes, Robin is suffering heavily from hay fever or a flu and he has forgotten to bring his battery charger for his camera. Note that he was the one to pester us all about not forgetting such things – Jargalan was very quick to point this out with a gleeful chuckle. We tried desperately to find him a charger in the town we stopped at for lunch, but had no success. We did however pick up a football and a frisbee, The first football match was won by the Commonwealth team of Zack, Danielle and I against Derek, Scott and Jargalan, Scott did keep insisting that he had no idea where the goal was. Small details, pfeh! Late into the night as I lay in bed, I heard Lori’s New York accent exclaim that the party was over and kick Steve out their Gir.


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