Thursday, August 7, 2008

China Bound, Mongolian Mountains to be Found

The haircut remains, and this lonesome Texans looked like a fool strolling up to the Chinese Embassy for the second time today, only to strut off like a cowboy into the sunset after, what's that? you accept my paperwork? I don't have to bribe you? I'm not being rejected for having too much facial hair? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, a visa receipt has been issued, and unless they disqualify me before Monday morning, I shall soon have that stamp and passport in my pocket, arming me with all the weapons necessary to conquer that border and make good on the train ticket I already bought but feared was a waste, but not use the fake plane ticket I showed the consulate.
I have now passed three days in Ulan Bataar, tearful goodbyes to the Kelly-Lieb brothers, and a bhuz later (Mongolian dumpling), I visited every outdoors store possible, found no trekking poles, and a few cheap sleeping bags that I still refuse to buy, but made some progress in seeing rentable canoes and devising a scheme to hit a river for a few days, shut down today by two Dutch women who said the rivers were very low.

Bus ride sunset, originally uploaded by wanders.

I met up with an NY-er living in Dalian, moving to Beijing soon, so I might have more than two friends in Beijing during my stay. We cooked a beastly meal of pasta loaded with three onions and a lot of garlic, impressing my taste buds but also those of our guest house host. We almost got our pockets picked trying to go the black market here, but planned ahead, by bringing only $10 each, and witnessed, as the pickpockets departed at a stop, one rough punch delivered to an old lady's face, something I did not expect from that 12-year old hoodlum. Sounds like Mongolians can be very violent - I've already heard of two people getting assaulted in early evening - so my gruff look and beard might be to my advantage while here. I also smell quite bad most of the time, though I did do some sink washing to rinse out the layers and layers of dirt that a 70 hour bus ride across Mongolia incurrs. I'm off though, enough of this city, to hike and cook rice, and get lost and found, and maybe even climb a rock or two if Im lucky.
Stories to come.

1 comment:

Deborah Edward said...

Your new bald, clean-shaven look will undoubtably be valuable in Beijing....but your 7 days as a yak were well documented in flickr and caused many a smile.