Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bon Voyage, Sir

After much worst-case scenario creation in my mind, I gave in to my tender, heedless heart and got a dog. My courage has been rewarded with Sir Good Bonkers, the best dog in the world. He has been my loyal companion, and cuddle-bug for 17 months now.

This morning, like most mornings in Korea, we woke up together, and Sir rolled over to have his belly scratched. Later, we had a long walk in the park. We've looped Namsan Botanical Gardens many times, but this was our last, because late this afternoon, I sent him to the quarantine office, in the care of a pet shipping professional, in preparation for his 11 am departure to Washington D.C. tomorrow morning.

My tears elicited a promise from the pet care professional, Jina, that she would treat him, "so very very excellent well tonight." So I watched him closed inside a kennel, and then inside of a van. After the van pulled away, I stood on the street crying. I was in front of a bar, and I considered going in to cry in a beer. It was only 4:30 pm, so I sat in the sun and ate an ice-cream bar instead.

After 12 hours in the belly of a plane, he will be met by my young sister, Christa, who will take him to my mother’s home in Virginia. There, Sir will meet and join her 4 dogs, Sandy, Seven, Lilly, and Bagel. I hope he will be happy for the company, and I hope all those who meet him will be kind. For those of you who will do me the great service of caring for him in my place, here are a few tips:

Sir loves you, so when you return home he gets very excited. Unfortunately, his squeaky voice doesn’t reflect his manly heart, and his squealing can be painful to the ears.

you're home!!

If you want him to stop, pick him up and return the love. He will calm down quickly.

most effective position

Sir will eat anything you give him, but I only give him dry dog food and dog treats. If you feed him from the table, he'll just come to the table more often. I'll admit, I do throw him a scrap now and then, but never from the table.

He'll go to the bathroom where you want him too. You just have to let him know where once or twice. He's a smarty, so a firm "no," two or three times, will suffice.

He understands "sit," and "stand," especially if you have a snack in your hand.

When you walk him, he gets excited and tugs on the leash. If you give the leash a slight jerk and say, "heel," he will stop pulling, at least until he picks up another intrguing scent.

He loves sleeping with people, beneath the blankets if it's cold, and above if it's hot. This is the favored position for an afternoon nap. Maybe if you find some other dogs for him to cuddle he'll like that too.

note the hands, very important

It was such a pleasure spending three days with Sir back in my life; he's bright and bouncy and full of love and trust and curiosity, and now he's gone and all I can do is hope that all will be well until we meet again.

So, those of you who meet him, be gentle, be kind, bring treats, and enjoy him as much as I do. I know I can count on Christa for cuddling, Mom and Paul for feeding and tolerating the everyday work of a dog, Carmen for vigorous walks, and Ian for tricks, treats, and jokes. Thank you in advance.

Mary and Kevin, thank you for keeping him safe and entertained, and thanks for the video. Sir will miss you, and so will I.

Sir Good Bonkers, best of luck on your adventure, I'll see you soon, and thank you for being the best.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Where's Winsley

My friend Marian lives in Brooklyn. She has a sophisticated city sheep named Winsley. When he's not going to The Met, dreaming of cupcakes in the Brooklyn botanical gardens, dressing up for Halloween, or making aesthetic observations, he relaxes at home in his gravy dish with Marian's dog Finny, who may actually be a wolf.

Recently, Winsley went missing. All the livestock in Mongolia make it a likely place to hide, so I asked around the animal crowd, hoping to find him.

I asked these sheep if they'd seen him, but they wouldn't give me the time of day.

These domestic goats said they hadn't seen him and hurried on their way.

Wild goats have more time on their hands; we talked about the weather, but still no Winsley.

These little piggies went to market, and they went wee, wee, wee all the way home. But they didn't have much else to say.

This dog wanted a pen-pal to improve his English, so I gave him Finny's address.

I invited this camel in for tea and sugar lumps, and he told me he had heard tell of a citified sheep doing research on the possible uses of yak DNA in hair regrowth formulas somewhere in the south.

He offered me a ride, but camels stink, so I took a horse instead.

And there I found Winsley, who had done a bit too much research on himself. He'll be home as soon as he finds an antidote.

Back In The Saddle, Again

My Mongolia scheme was seeded a few years back when a friend who had travelled there told me about the horse situation; he said there's plenty of them, and it's possible to buy one cheaply and ride off into the sunset. Ever since the eight year old version of me dropped the reins of my uncle's horse Nobby, causing him to cross wheat fields and jump ditches at breakneck speed, I've been dreaming of horses; I know how fast they can go, and I know they know where to place their feet in order not to fall.

I've been on one several times since then, but always in very restricted circumstances; horse rental in America is expensive, and you have to sign an insurance waiver and go with a guide who makes sure your horse doesn't break a sweat. So, Mongolia sounded like the perfect place for another wild ride; a place where my currency goes a long way, where most of the land is unowned, and where the horse to human ratio is 13 to 1.

slow enough for a photo

I had hoped to meet someone with more knowledge of horse tack and care than me who would be interested in a long ride, but I, of all the non-Mongolians I encountered, was the most interested in horses. So, I went on a tour that included a two day horse trek at Lake Khovsgol instead.

Lake Khovsgol

What I didn't anticipate was the difference in saddles. Mongolian saddles are made of wood and a bit of felt, and Russian saddles are made of wood, metal, and a bit or leather. Russian saddles are considered more comfortable and usually given to tourists, but they are still far less comfortable than a full leather, western saddle.

Russian saddle

The stirrups are also shorter on both styles of saddle, giving me a pain in the right knee for most of the two day ride.

Mongolian saddle

I would have preferred to gallop the whole way, but there were several problems. First, we had a really lazy horse boy; he often fell asleep as our horses plodded along, and being the only one who knew where we were going, and speaking not a word of English to inform or direct me, I had no choice but to follow.

horse boy, 17 yrs old

For me, sitting on a walking horse was far more painfull than riding a galloping horse, both physically and mentally. Each step seemed to have four distinct movements, each registering in a different area of my weary backside, and having the effect of making me want to gallop my horse even more, both for the thrill of the ride, and in order to get it over with sooner.

goats from a horse

I'll admit that going this slowly allowed for seeing more scenery, but when a member of our group decided that it wasn't "nice" to ride horses, which meant her horse would be doing a lot of stopping and eating from that point on, I could hardly keep my eyes from rolling right out of my head. The horses, being social animals, liked to stay in a group, so if one dallied or ran, the others followed.

Against all odds, I did manage to get my horse going at a good clip now and then, but I've reached the conclusion that, as an American, if I want to enjoy horses, I need to be either very rich, so horses can be a hobby, or very poor, so they can be a part of my income. I doubt either of those scenarios are going to happen.

I bought these smoked fish along the way. Dead fish always look so mean, and I'm sure it's not nice to eat them, but they were delicious!

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Pied Piper

Three days out of Ulaanbataar, we had the only major crises of our trip. We began driving around 10 am, and around 1, we stopped, as usual, for lunch. While our guide prepared one of her ingenious variations on potatoes, onions, sausage, and carrots, our group split into individuals and wandered around, some on the steppe, and I along the river running through it.

After eating and lazing about for a bit longer while our guide washed and packed the dishes and our driver fitted everything into the back of the van, we set out again. We only had about three hours until our destination, Lake Khovsgol.

My seat was on the left side of the van, and because we were heading north, that meant I got a lot of afternoon sun; I've ended up with quite a tan, if only on my hands and face. I was always hot at that time of day, so I noticed with pleasure an unusual, cool breeze circulating. I wondered about it for a moment, and then dismissed the thought in favor of enjoying the sensation.

About 10 minutes later, Gamba braked and turned around. His eyes narrowed with concern and he got out and went around to the back of the van; the door was open, and one bag was missing. Harry was asleep in her seat, but Rob, Sara and I were fully alert and each, I'm sure, silently hoping that it wasn't our own bag. Rob quickly realized that it was Harry's pack that had fallen out, but as we turned around to retrace our route back to the river, we agreed with our eyes not to wake her. Hopefully, we would find the bag and spare her the alarm.

We drove all the way back to our lunch spot without seeing the bag, and Harry woke up about halfway through the search. As we headed north, again along the same road, we all scanned the grasses and brush. Harry's alarm was palpably building, but through will and words she remained optimistic. We stopped every passing herder, on horse and on motorcycle, to ask if they had seen the bag.

tiny town gate

Not finding it, we went a little further along the route we had been traveling until we reached a tiny town. There was a school, three tiny shops selling assorted candies, sewing supplies, clothing and alcohol, among a variety of things, a few fenced in gers or houses, a public outhouse, a police station, and several other dilapidated buildings that appeared to have outlived whatever function they may once have served.


Aside from the presence of functioning public buildings, the place wasn't even what I think of as a town; it was a cluster of buildings erected in the middle of nowhere, with nothing to define where the business of people ended and the business of nature began.

building and birches

We drove through a lot of places like this one on the way. I often wanted to stop and look around at the marvelously decrepit buildings; so, I was glad for the delay. While Harry and Sophda were in the police station, for what turned into nearly two hours, I got out of the van for a look.

mesmerized children

At first, the dirt square and main street were empty, but soon enough children began to appear as if from the cracks in the walls, until I had a band of at least 15 following me. When they spotted me taking pictures of buildings, they became bold. They were enamored with my digital camera, and I spent a lot of time taking their pictures and showing them. The sight of their own images produced glowing and hysterical giggles.

boys full of beans

My camera had this effect on children all over Mongolia, but one young lady was really fired up. In a central provincial capital, where I had hunted down an establishment with both tables and passable coffee, she came to my table and simply sat there. I drank my coffee, and she ate her pine nuts, drawing them from the pocket of her uniform and cracking their shells with her teeth. This went on for a while in companionable silence until I took out my camera for a picture of a passing dog. She immediately signaled that I should take her picture and she proceeded to strike a number of alluring poses that she must have stored in her mind from magazines and billboards.

Eventually, she got tired of this and demanded, again through pantomime, that I should pose and she should take the pictures. Normally, I wouldn't hand my camera to a stranger, but this girl had spunk. She figured out how to use the camera, and remarkably, some of the digital options, quickly, so I struck poses, under her direction, and she proudly showed me her work, which I deleted later.

striking a pose

After back-tracking for the bag and filing the police report, it was too late to make it all the way to Lake Khovsgol that day, so we drove another 45 minutes or so to the provincial capital, Moron.

By the time we arrived, it was about 7pm, an hour until the sun began to set. I was in the habit, during the whole tour, of taking an evening walk, so I set out for a ramble.

main street sunset in Moron

Moron turned out to be the most menacing place I went in Mongolia. All the streets are dirt and rows upon rows of houses and gers are fenced in, creating long, dirt alleys lined with boards. Piles of trash line the alleys, and a constant wind kicks up the dust, causing one's throat to sting and the skulking dogs to look even dirtier. Drunk men, old and young,reel along the main street and sometimes veered directly into my path, presumably for amusement.

store by day, box by night

The streets were indistinguishable, and I ended up lost in the dark, which was frightening. Despite the general tone of the town, I'm glad I took that walk. As the sun set over the gaudily painted shacks of main street the sky, for a few minutes, showed the same pink and blue hues as some of the buildings. It's hard to call anyone poor who lives under such a sky.

Russian soldier

I found this Russian soldier in the dirt, and I set him to guard our room while we slept. We left Moron the following morning. Harry's bag never resurfaced.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Novice

Although they were a pleasant way to break up the journey, I'm not really one for temples. I usually enter, am generally impressed by their ornateness and the human creativity, both materially and spiritually, it represents, admire the aesthetic features, and then get restless and ready to go. Maybe if I knew more about Buddism and its symbols, or if I had some specific question, I would be more occupied. But as it is, the sanctuaries and grounds quickly become picturesque places only; and no matter how charming a place I am, I want to do something there, or go somewhere else and do something.

detail from Erdene Zuu Khiid

Take, for example, this painting from another temple. Although the technique by which the image was produced interested me, there was nobody around who could explain it. Temple guides can often elaborate symbolism only in very limited terms, due either to the loss of the knowledge within their own culture or language difficulties; and I've never crossed a guide who could explain technique in any detail.

In modern Mongolia, emissaries have been sent from Tibet on a religious re-education campaing. Along with the physical destruction of temples and monks during the communist purges, tradition and knowledge were lost too. But I'm not participating in that campaign; to me, this is something that was painted somehow, and as far as I know means, "Be kind to little men who bring you fruits."

one of several symetrically placed pagodas, Amarbayasgalant Khiid

My disinterest in decoding ancient religious systems aside, Amarbayasgalant had its charms. It shares structural characteristics with Korean temples, but it didn't have the same solemnity and rigid self-regard. The high ceilings, supported by rows of well spaced columns, with many-colored tapestries streaming down, and large number of windows created a sense of greatness and joy, as if the immensity and wonder of nature and the world had been somehow replicated one room. Still, it was freezing in there, and I wanted to leave shortly after I arrived.

pagoda detail

But, this was only the main sanctuary, and there were three outlying structures to see. This was when I first noticed a boy wearing a dirty, mismatched, polyester tracksuit; pants of red, a jacket of blue, and white stripes running down both sides. On his face he wore a veil of dirt, beneath which a few freckles were visible.

Having recently come from Ulaanbataar, where there are scores of dirty, Dickensian orphan children simultaneously begging for your money and trying to steal it, I was initially suspicious of the boy. Without the uniform of the other monks, his presence in the sanctuary was questionable.

young monk and old truck

As we left the main sanctuary a young monk accompanied us, and the boy ran ahead to an outlying building. We soon caught up with him, and after the young monk unlocked the door, the boy followed us eagerly inside. In this smaller building, the boy ran from gilt god to gilt god bowing with enthusiasm. At the next building, he was given the privilege of unlocking the door for us, and as we perused still more statues, the boy flitted around the room, his face and eyes sparkling and glowing, energetically straightening the stacks of Mongolian currency left in supplication at the feet of the golden beings.

I asked our guide about the boy who appeared to be enjoying this part of our journey more than we were. She asked the young monk, and he told her the boy had arrived at the temple a few days earlier. He was 12 years old, from a distant province, and he had decided of his own accord that he wanted to be a monk. He was just beginning his study of Tibetan in order to read the prayer books.

stupa outside the temple, probably not Zanabazar's

The last small temple housed a statue of Zanabazar, a descendant of Ghengis Khan, born in the mid 17th century, who is still famous for his contributions to Mongolian arts, religion, and politics. His remains were enshrined in a stupa at the temple, but I'm not sure if they're still there. The point is, his statue made me giggle, because, for the second time, I was reminded of Yoda. There sat Zanabazar, looking pleased as punch, a little golden man with long ears.

If you are offended by this association, let us not forget that Yoda is a master of the force, so strong that he can afford to be gentle. We can only hope it's so with the Dalai Lama and Zanabazar. To be fair, I saw the Dalai Lama on TV this morning. When he speaks English, he does not sound like Yoda.

Um, Mary

we need to talk about Kevin

And we will, as soon as I get to Seoul!

This was Harry's reading material. Apparently the lips of the world are flapping about Kevin.

The Wonderers

Those of you who know me know that I can be, well, impatient, to put it mildly. One of the reasons is that it's just not in my nature to compromise. When confronted by practical decisions that have to be made, I usually reach my conclusions quickly and am ready to act. So it irritates me when a lot of time elapses between my own plan being formed and any actions being taken, even if that elapsed time is spent explaining or modifying. I'll grant that sometimes my plans don't work, or they lead to stupid situations, but at least they're my stupid situations, and I didn't have to waste any time getting there.

Those of you who don't know me can see by now the challenges presented to a person of my character by spending 18 days in small spaces with the same five people. But in the end, we worked pretty well as a group, I got to know some people I probably wouldn't have otherwise, and often, in the dark, quiet nights, I was glad for the company.

me and a bundle of baby

This baby was the daughter of a middle-school friend of our guide, Sophda. We stopped at the family ger after our night at the hot-springs, so this is me looking as clean as I got during the whole journey. I thought I'd do my best Sally Struthers imitation by holding the baby. Of course, this started the predictable, "When do you want to have a baby?" line of questioning. My answer, "When it becomes acceptable to keep them tied up like this till they're six years old." A joke, but this baby was really content in her bunting.

This family also had an amazing number of dairy products going in their ger: goat cheese drying on the ceiling, some kind of milk doing something in several barrels, and most impressively, mare's milk beer, and mare's milk vodka.

immediately mesmerized by TV on our return to UB

This was our guide, Sophda. She's 21, and she teaches English in UB during the winter. Her actual guide skills were lacking in the communication and information department, but she got us where we needed to go, and she's a really creative cook. She managed to make an amazing variety of dishes out of a few ingredients; carrots, onions, potatoes, garlic (sometimes), mutton, and bread, rice, or pasta. She also had a very sunny demeanor.

Gamba to the rescue

Gamba, the driver, mechanic, and owner of the Soviet issued Volkswagon-like tank we traveled in, was unarguably the hero of our journey. He started that thing with a hand-crank as often as with the electric starter. He changed tires, with the help of Rob, in seven minutes flat, he navigated off-road and on, and he did it all in a matter-of-fact manner. He spoke no English, although I know he understood more than he let on. I think he liked us, although he did sometimes chuckle to himself when one or another of us bounced right out of our seats. When Harriet's bag was lost out of the back of the vehicle, he felt so bad he tried to give her all his clothes.

Gamba's navigation skills were amazing. On the second day of our journey, when we had left all roads far behind in favor of criss-crossing dirt tracks, Sara said, "How does he know where we're going? Do you think he has a GPS?" I replied, "I doubt it, he doesn't even have a nob on his gear-shifter."

He also stopped many times to help stranded vehicles or give people rides to the nearest petrol station. Gamba's relaxed and helpful attitude seems to be characteristic of Mongolians; in a land as unforgiving as this, one had better be able to depend on a helping hand.

Gamba and Rob (Sorry Rob, didn't have another photo of you.)

Rob, Harriet's boyfriend, was ever attentive to Harry's wishes. So, a question from her, for example, "Rob, are you cold?" immediately yielded a fire for all of us. Not only was he considerate of his lady, he was considerate of all us ladies. He often carried our bags in from the truck, which is a luxurious kindness when one loads and unloads every day.On top of it all, he was a great reference for physical facts, such as measurement systems, distances, and the mechanics of things.

ladies waiting, Harry on the left, Sara on the right

Sara was resourceful in predicting the snack and creature comfort needs of everyone, and she was generous with her bounty to anyone who needed it. She could have made a fortune selling us soft, city tissue, and I would have paid her 10$ for the Snicker's bar she magically produced in the middle of the Gobi. She will be remembered by me as Sara the Snack Elf.She was also the member of the group who seemed to most closely get my particular brand of humor. As anyone who laughs at my jokes is immediately judged by me to have a great sense of humor, this was my first assesment. But as the trip went on I heard her laugh often, at many kinds of things, and I realized that she is generally a merry sort.

Harry is a vegetarian who, for the past year, has been helping her parents run their meat farm 60 miles south of London. As this fact might indicate, she gets the prize for most flexible and easy-going in our group. For someone who had only the evening before remarked that she finally had all the best travel gear, she accepted the loss of her bag calmly, and wore her replacement clothes with an impressive grace.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Wonders

After spending some days taking my sweet time in Ulaanbataar, I happened to pass a woman in the guest house talking about her impending departure to the countryside. I asked her about her plan, and it turned out that she was leaving on a tour with two British people who would be arriving two days later. The number of travel days scheduled was 18. The number of people involved if I joined would be six, four tourists, a guide, and a driver. The price per day would be 39 dollars, all inclusive. And the route, cutting a loop including northern, central, and southern Mongolia, was scheduled around two temples and four scenic spots.

I wanted to spend most of my time in the countryside, and knew there were plenty of points of interest out there, but didn't want to do much planning, so this itinerary suited me just fine; I signed on.


The first major destination, where we planned to spend three nights, was lake Khovsgol, near the border with Russia. Due to the distance, nearly 24 hours by car, we stayed near Amarbayasgalant temple on our first night, and the river Selenge on our second. About four hours away from the lake, Harry lost her bag, or rather, her bag was lost, so we ended up spending a night in Moron in hope of recovering it.

When we awoke on our second morning on the road, it was snowing. It was suprising, crisp, and lovely. None of us were dressed for it, but we soon geared up, and the unexpected chill gave us a great excuse to keep the fire going in our ger.

Khovsgol Nuur

We spent three nights at Lake Khovsgol, despite the earlier delay, during which we took a two day horse ride.

a typical lunchtime panorama

After the first lake, we headed to another one, Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur, further south. This meant another two days overland, but the journey was never without its interests, pleasures, and oddities, and I wouldn't have chosen to travel any other way.

Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur was warmer, in terms of weather and character, than Lake Khovsgol. The first lake, thought to be one or two percent of the world's fresh water supply, was inconceivably large, but the second one I could have walked around, given two days. Also, the second lake was swimmable, given slightly warmer weather.

sunset at Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur

We spent two nights at Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur, where I took several very long walks to shake out my head and my legs after spending so much time in a tourist tank and nomad tents with five people. I also hand-washed my clothes into a relatively clean state. I wouldn't want to do it every day, but at that moment, it was deeply satisfying.


Our next major nature destination was Bayanzag, or The Flaming Cliffs, so named by an American dirt-digger, tall tale-teller, and adventurer who found a lot of dinosaur bones there in the 1920's. Again, the distance was immense, and on the way we spent one night at a hot spring, where I had a "whey manipulation massage," basically a massage with smelly milk, and another night near a temple.

Bayanzag was beautiful, and hot. Apparently there are dinosaur bones there, and if you lick them, they stick to your tongue. There are a lot of livestock bones there too, deserts being easy places to die; since I opted to chart my own route that day, rather than walk with our group and guide, I missed the authenticity testing by tongue.

clearly not dinosaur bones

Khongoryn Els

Our last, and most stunning stop, was the Khongoryn Dunes. They were magnificent, and none of my photos reflect that. So, all you get is this dune and two camels on a screen. If you want some wonderment, you'll have to go there. We stayed at the dunes for two nights, and then drove nine hours the next day to get to a goat farm and evict a family from their ger. They usually have a guest ger, but as they were preparing for their winter migration, they had taken it down the day before. The next morning, we drove another four hours to reach Ulaanbataar.

You who live in the land of pavement may not think that nine hours is a long drive, but it definitely is if there is no road. We drove about 4,000 km (6,400 miles) and an estimated 70 hours. About four of those hours were spent on paved roads, and the rest were a bone jarring adventure.

I'm not complaining; if there's one thing I learned it's that everything is easier when you relax. I knew that already, but I sure had a lot of time to practice!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Gobi's Edge

I'm now in a town the name of which I couldn't pronounce when I read it and cannot remember now. I can't remember things I can't pronounce. It's on the edge of the Gobi, which we left today, and which was amazing. Really amazing. I'm reeling with amaze.

I'm also ready for civilization. By that I mean: chairs, tables, showers, hot water whenever I frieking want it, and that glorious drink that makes kings and gods out of whores and beggars, coffee. Ah, for a cup of coffee at a table after a shower.

Kevin, to my dismay, there are no inter-gers. Sorry, I was hoping too. But these people hang cheese, not wires from their ceilings.

Jef, I really wish I could have participated in your video experiment in narcissim.

Mary, we're going to have a catfight over my dog. Not really. It's a comfort to me to know he's with people who love him.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Merci Beaucoup

Excellent, you people really came through with the comments, now that I figured out how to accept them!


Did you get it; very few lights on in Moron?

Once again, we’ve stopped briefly in a brief town, Tsetserleg, a provincial capital in central Mongolia.

I, an American woman, a British couple, a Mongolian guide and a Mongolian driver, have been rattling around in a tourist tank from lake to lake and mountain to mountain for the past 8 days. I have a lot of stories to tell and pictures to post, but there is reportedly a shop in town that sells freshly brewed coffee, and it calls my name with an irresistible force.

I miss Sir Good more than I miss coffee, which I miss with a fierceness.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


I am in a dusty, 12 horse, 3000 dog town called Moron, meaning big river in Mongolian. It's about 30 hrs driving northwest of UB. I am safe, I am well, I'm as dirty as a cur. Apparently the comments function on this damn blog is malfunctioning, or something. But the connection here at the post office, the only building in town that has electricity, is too slow for me to try to fix it at the moment. I'd rather go to the market and look for some Soviet era clothing, as it snowed yesterday, and I'm a wee bit cold. Thanks for the emails friends. I was ridiculously excited to check my inbox, after only 3 days!

Monday, September 04, 2006

By The Way

I HAteE Mother fuckers

I hate mother fuckers too!


I’m leaving tomorrow morning for the Gobi desert, and points beyond. The trip will last 18 days and 17 nights. I’m looking forward to the nights, the milky way from horizon to horizon. I’m not sure when I’ll see the internet. Contrary to Kevin’s prediction, there is no internet in yurts, but I have seen a few satellite dishes. If you have been reading this stuff, leave a comment, just so I know you’re out there, and I have something to look at when I come back.

Triangles, Circles, and Lines

Today, in the midst of preparations for leaving the city tomorrow, I stumbled across this pair of pants in the middle of the sidewalk. It’s funny what one finds scary; for me, it was these pants. I was completely creeped out. Why were they there? What would prompt someone to abandond their pants in that way, laying them out in repose, like a corpse? Had someone been murdered? Was the owner lurking, pantsless, in the bushes? Had the owner been abducted by aliens? I walked rapidly away from the pants, before I could think of more alternatives.

Soon after, I came upon a hole in the fence of the children’s park, and I crawled inside. Not that there is admission, I just didn’t want to walk all the way around. What I found was a weird wonderland of rusting rides, and a disturbing absence of people.