Concoures de Elegance, but in Mongol style

Exiting Tashanta, a simple plan in reality but harder to execute than you may think. Thank goodness that we could work thru this as a team, because otherwise it may never have come to fruition. I am getting way ahead of the story so let me set the stage and paint the scene for you.

We wake in our room full of men who have been dining on mutton and goat, me first, as my son tends to indulge in those first glimmers of morning light. The odor is horrendous, partly sulphurous partly that of cordite which is commonly found in artillery shells………….dont worry. Its just the manner inwhich Booz exits the body, not the odor, but it does leave like an artillery shell. Gosh my legs are itchy ( we got seriously bed bugged this night ) as I stand and arrange my ocular devices so that I can then navigate the sheep gut laden mine field of slepping men. No sense stepping on a gas bag by accident. Its an old Mongolian Proverb that we learned, “men who dine on Booz at supper hunt for a bathroom in running shoes”, its a profound truth.

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The courtyard at our “hotel” contains the usual very nasty (for the Christian readers please omit this line from the reading expirience) shit slit as we have come to call it. Usually very low roofed, which certainly enables it to hold those fumes down at eye level. Wooden walled if lucky, sometimes it is just an old door set out in the yard and you get behind it is all. This was four walled with plenty of vent space between boards. The wood floor has a little slit cut thru it, central to the human form. The slit is always wet at one end and encrusted at the other, i will allow you to use your imagination and lead between the cracks here to conclude what you will.For me, on this particular morning, I wanted nothing to do with the slit, I could sense that I was going to pass a golden fleece.. I headed for the compound wall and slipped the security knot on the man gate……yes at a run. A learned art, and one every international traveler should practise…….trot to the gate…. immediatly begin a keegle procedure followed by a strangling legs crossed sphincter lock…….throw those fumbling fingers to work with the abundantly clear warning, that should they fail they also get the cleanup detail…..that usually takes all the fumble rignt out the littlebuggers…….oh good, the knot has slipped and the gate is swinging out not in. Warning, its very hard to take a step back and hold a security lock on crossed legs……I,ve done it, but I also practise this stuff at home. To the left I scan……old women with cutoff 45 gallon drum is out collecting  cow pies for the stove……..to the right I scan…..old man pushing a heavy cart full of water buckets……..wait, whats that….off maybe 200 yards to my right, its a partially started adobe house. Like a highly tuned machine,my mind and body worked in unison to formulate a series of steps  and double checks so as to insure a succesful sprint. Tighten the strangling leg lock which then allows a firmer grip by those little sucksion cup things located inside your rectal cavity(thisby the way is the only part of the body that seems not to care about the final outcome) with the sphincter lock firmly in place focus all occular attention is on the terrain between you and the eventual landing sight. Trust me, you dont want to trip and lose the lock. Tell the forward mobilization unit that they have a job to do,and that what they carry dribbles. Engage the shoes and Pray you had the wisdom to lace them before all this began……off you go buddy cause no human can hold that keegle lock forever…..thats it step lively and mind those bigger,smoother wet rocks…….your mind is racing, you are mentally multi tasking…..will I make it……oh that feels like a partial seal lock loss…….crap, did I remember toilet paper…….what in the sam neck is taking those fingers so long to get the knot in my sweat pants undone. This is like landing a fighter jet since there are so many sequences of events that have to unfold simultaneously……just like my pants have to and I am not convinced my fingers yet realize the impending carnage should they fail such a simple task. Jump…….remember there are 4 walls started but no doors or windows yet…..total loss of the protective seal lock……rip down and squat which should be one fluidless motion……………..take a moment to appraise the success as the sligntest breeze will tell the extent of iether damage or success.” Well, isnt that nice “I say to myself as I sit there all hunckered up…..the old guy pulling the water cart stops and waves. I am the one however who is the happiest at this good morning salutation, as my sheepish grin is now behind me.

If you are going to practise this at home, I suggest no more than 2 sets of 3 Keegle holds since it is very tiring. Over time you can work your way up say sets of 5. For the advanced international traveller, I do suggest adding such things as a belt, and maybe a pair of pants with a stuck zipper…..proper field training is very important.I head for the border crossing to speak or gesture with someone so we can find out when things open up….no crossing till Monday 2 pm. Worst news i had heard in quite awhile. Now what are we going to do, what can we actuall do from here.

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I have 2 of the newest cell phones made and an up to date tablet, all 4g and you may as well have 2 rocks and a tin can for communications. Unless you have Mobicom up here on an “E” network you are toast. There is no internet, other than the hacked internet we had while one particular guest was in the hotel. So if we want to solve issues we have to do it from a bigger and less remote place than here. Our overnite cost was $55,000.00 Togrik, which really isnt much but a heck of a lot higher than it should have been. We are so low on Togrik, that no matter what we would have had to backtrack. Our collective mind is made up, but Pine wants to double check the border one more time…..good idea.Meantime across the main road I see what looks like a Yurt going up…….off I go with camera in hand. Pine is going to look for a ride out of here. Maybe 15 minutes go by and I hear Pine calling me. I look to see my son squatting Mongol fashion with a group of 7 men and a women haggling about something. I walk over to hear the conclusion of it all, and get a summary of what is about to happen. There is a Russian Jeep sitting there and a young man in complete camo fatigues……could be a Walmart employee from the Ozarks I think to myself. The young guy pours out about 10 litres of fuel in an old open can and gives it to the women as payment for her bringing Pine over. He then hands about 15,000 cash to an elderly man………for? We later learn its his jeep.

He rolls over to where the bikes are and we toss everything in the back and get in our selves. We fire up and roll back across the road and in behind a small hut/shack/adobe cell, what ever way you want to look at it. The elderly fellow with a hefty paunch walks out of the adobe and invites us in for Mongol Tea, which Pine has has all he wants….so we decline. He shrugs, and heads in for his own tea. The young fellow, he makes busy preparing the vehichle for the trip. The hood is up and a gas cap is pulled off a small plastic jug……what the heck. The 6 litre used antifreezr jug is the gas tank for this contraption and it is jammed inbetween battery wiring and radiator hoses to hold it in place…….wow, that quite the way to do things. Next comes an oil top off. 4 cylinder affair, and he adds about 3 full quarts to this beast, not sure how much it holds, but it had to be near empty I am thinking. Both fellows now go on the search for another plastic can to hold extra fuel for the trip. With that found, filled and set in the back of the jeep we think that we are ready. Not quite, we still have the odds and ends of jobs and items to be picked up for the town of Tashanta. That list is compiled, a few bags of???, are tossed in, a cardboard box with pieces of pipe are thrown in. The command to load up, and we are expecting 3 of us to head out. Wrong. The older fellow drives, the younger fellow gets into the back behind the bikes. The old guy pulls up the lever which enables the engine heat and fumes to pass thru the cockpit…..wowser is it ever hot, and we both think we may be taken out by the fumes. Pine is located on the floor behind, since we had to remove the second seat to allow the bikes to fit. He has a rough spot to sit, with bolt heads and a heck of a lot of heat.

Off we go, like a bat out of hell quite literally……truth no. 137, every mongol drives his beat up vehichle as if he may win an imaginary race. Its amazing how hard they push these overloaded and underpowered vehichles. Anyways, we make it about 20 miles down the road, and hit every pot hole and washboard section doing 40 plus, the old fella needs abreak so the army dude climbs in to drive. Maybe 20 more miles down the road, apart from the strong smell of exhaust fumes and engine oil and heat smells, I notice a strong smell of cigarette odor……I glance over my shoulder to see the heavy fellow who is sitting directly on the plastic gas can has lit up a smoke and relaxing with his full wieght compressing the can. There was a point there that I thought we may end up flying to Olgii, rather than arrive in a Jeep!!! We commence the coast routine which will drive you nuts. Meaning we coast down every hill with the engine off till we come to about 5 mile per hour, then shift and gun it to 40 or 45 mph, and repeat……on…….and on…..and on.As I am in the front seat and feeling a little sorry for my boy right behind me on the floor, my job was to hold open the only window that was not taped shut with packing tape. Anything to try and increase air flow and maybe a little less heat for him. My left leg was so hot I started sitting cross legged just to get away from some of it. It took forever to arrive in Olgii with the coast process but arrive we did.

Typical Mongol fashion at the outskirts of town the jeep just rolls off the road into some random to us house…….the young fellow gets out and walks around and commences to unload our stuff. Hey wait, what are we doing here we ask? You stay with my friend whatever…….no says Pine quite emphatically. We are not staying here, you are taking us into town. With that Pine begins loading the bags back up, and points to the young fella to get behind the wheel as we are leaving….now. we do finally arrive, downtown Bayan Olgii, back to the same yurts we had been staying just 3 or 4 days prior. Our dutch friends just returned from the Glacier Explore trip……highly over rated was thier more moderate than my opinion. And some friends we made from Australia just returned from another adventure out towards the Gobi………there advice, avoid it like the plague its a hell hole. So within maybe an hour of our arrival, two of our considerations had holes shot in them. So upset was the Aussie and his wife, they cut the whole trip short, escaped on a plane the next day.Pine and I, we have 10 days tok kill here so we may post something else again if its exciting……like maybe the black market or the hardwarestore?????

About Jeremiah Watt-saddlemaker

Jeremiah is a saddle maker, a silversmith. He runs a small company manufacturing bits and spurs as well as the manufacture of saddle hardware. An avid cyclist, especially the loaded solo tour type cycling.
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2 Responses to Concoures de Elegance, but in Mongol style

  1. Wow, a new Harley Road King, you roll in style back there, i am envious. Of course 3 days riding that in Mongolia and you could send that bike home as parts. Glad yer along, no matter what you ride. I may get home and buy a motorcycle myself. An older, prior to all the fancy electronics model, alpine type 650cc or smaller enduro bike. Maybe even let me know if you see a clean one. Be well, and how is that engraving doing?

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  2. Terry says:

    Howdy
    I am glad you are having fun, trying to get to the waterless closet. It brought to mind the movie “Monte Walsh” with Lee Marvin, when the cook got even with them all after the dunkin in the water tank. Don’t mess with the cook.
    You and Bill showed me how out of shape I had got to. So I set out to correct that, only problem too many bad parts, knees, etc., so I turned to Yoga and Pilates, seemed to help.( them down dogs and such) It worked so well I started thinking about doing some adventure myself, like when I was 40 years younger. BUT after reading this blog I threw down my hat and said no way, I can’t do it. Your a better man than I gunga den.
    I did get a new bike(Harley road king), I don’t have to worry about hills, wind, and all that. At the first sign of rain, pull in the nearest Hilton. I have just been in town to long, with conditioned air, indoor plumbing, etc.
    So keep writing, I’ll keep reading.
    Hope things pick up some.

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