Playing with “Madness”: 22 July 2006 (Saturday)

True to form, the night did end in “Madness.” We also managed to drink the camp out of their (overpriced) wine. First, Scott, Steve, Mieko and I participated in some horse riding. We were out for exactly one hour. I’m not entirely sure I’ll be getting rid of the car in favour of horses just yet (my balls hurt way too much in just one hour of saddle pounding) but I can see the attraction of the open plains (or Steppe) on horseback. My horse was contrary, as was Mieko’s and Steve’s; Scott ended up with a great horse. It could also have been my inexperience and inability to communicate with both the horse and the horse handlers. I could not get the horse to do anything more than a trot when it wasn’t standing still or when it wasn’t trying to bite the other horses arses and pick fights.

After our exciting horse ride, Scott and I headed out for a walk with Steve and Barbro to reconnoiter the area for possible people to join the party tonight as well as to climb a huge rock that we had seen. The rock climbing was successful and did not end in hospitalization though finding party members was abandoned. Derek on the other hand had succeeded on this front. He had run into the Australians (see previous entry), made friends and invited them over. The Australians were Jodie Foster (no joke), Kat and Brett. All were fairly young and travelling with a driver who didn’t speak English.

By the time dinner arrived and wine drinking had begun, the weather was deteriorating into heavy rains. Scott and I had come up with the only workable solution to our spider infestation – no fire in our Gir to attract them.

Seeing the weather turn sour, Derek sprang into action. He convinced the driver Naidam to let him drive one of the Twinkies to the Aussie Gir (about a ten minute walk) and went to retrieve them. We had gathered in the “Bar Gir” and had bought all their red wine (believe me it was not cheap). When the Aussies arrived in from the cold, the vodka began to flow liberally. To keep things moving, Robin started a drinking game. It involved coming up with a topic or category from which we had to each pick items from with no repeats or hesitation. The penalty, we decided, was to drink a glass of the “Madness” wine. I think I may have come close to losing the most – I drank four glasses of the “Madness” in addition to continuing my vodka odyssey. The two longest lasting categories were “sex aids” and “illegal/illicit drugs”. Go figure.

Some time during the night we noticed that the staff were sleeping at the tables and we realized that they probably didn’t want us there. Off we retired to our Gir where we continued. Unfortunately the weather had started to cause our Girs to disintegrate. Sarah, Lori and Jargalan’s Gir had sprung a leak and was flooded. Between spiders jumping on arachnophobic Sarah, us trying to drunkenly light their with wet wood and being generally toxic enough to force sober people drunk by merely smelling our breaths, the night degenerated into complete, well, madness. In the end the girl’s Gir had to be vented of all the smoke created by the wet wood to prevent suffocation.

Finally, of course, we had to do something about the completely inebriated Aussies. The highlight was Kat falling off her stool and yet managing to hold onto her lit cigarette and vodka high and clear of damage. Derek decided to walk them home as they had managed to lose their one and only flashlight. According to Derek it took him an hour to walk them home and ten minutes to walk back. This was on account of the Aussies’ inability to walk and their love of falling in large puddles. The good fellow made them a fire, tucked them into bed and bid them farewell.

Oh don’t even give me the whole no sympathy for the hangover! I didn’t have a hangover, nor did anyone else. Personally I think that the almost two months in Russia and Mongolia has killed my liver.

We have just arrived at our next stop the hot springs camp. It’s a little sketchy. There are a ton of tourists and the hot spring pools seem a little on the dirty side with no filters or controls. Not an issue except for the numbers using these small pools. Thanks to Derek, we’ve changed our rating scale to camel humps. We have redone the rating for the White Lake camp to a one or two humper and the pools at this new Gir to a one humper, if that.

Addendum: Jodie Foster also had a Canon battery charger that fit Robin’s camera. He is finally taking photos of the trip… with two days left on the trip!


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