Friday, December 20, 2013

Degrees of separation

Written in a car crossing the desert towards a village in western mongolia.

I was going to get some things in the first family's house. They have washed my stuff and I am supposed to go there get it. But on the way I meet a guy, his name is B., he is about fifty and he speaks russian. He and his friends are celebrating new year ten days early because they don't have time on 31st. He asks me if I want to come with him so I go. The party takes place in a big place: Zalum21 no alcohol disco club it says on the building. So it is a big party without a drop of vodka, I guess the drunk mongolian myth is still dead. Armenia still has the first place in drunkenness.
They serve deliscious food and there are also lots of fruits.
Yes, it's explicit

Some of the people from the party

Mongolians do dance

And I get free lunch

People sing and dance. Mongolians know how to dance, and real two people dance. I am invitated to dance some variation of waltz which I don't remember so I switched to my favorite four-step rock in the middle of the song. The girl was surprised but she followed. Some people spoke english, a lot of them speak russian. There was a music teacher with a jealous husband who thought we were getting along a little too well. I later came to know that she was fifty, I could have sworn she is just a bit older. Mongolian girls are realy wonders, I will say it one more time, there is no point of looking for love in Europe, unless maybe you live close to Scandinavia.

And there I meet Po, a guy in his fifties very happy and expressive who also speaks russian. Turns out he is a member of alcoholics anonymmous and so is B.. Po says that I should be careful when staying with people who I find through the internet and I am invited to stay at his house. But only tomorrow, today I stay with B.. B. lives with his parents and sometimes his son comes to visit him. His mother is really sick, we hear she is in pain from time to time. He shows me videos from Suzie Quatro, his favourite singer. I don't think any Kyrgyz or Kazakh asian male would have such a strong female character as a role model. Mongolia has a modern mentality.
The sight of my clothes doesn't really reassure B. ans his family. I get pants and gloves. Good thick gloves! Perfect!

The next day I sleep at the Yurt again. There are rules at sleeping in the Yurt. We wake up at six o'clock and I am responsible for most of my food though the wife brings me stuff to eat from to time. That is very fair, the mere fact of accepting my couchsurfing request is a miracle since in my experience, couchsurfing almost never works.
It's Gebz' birthday today but it actually is like any other day since Gebz says that everyday is his birthday.

The next day it's really cold. I can't even walk a few kilometers without starting not to feel my fingers and toes. My face also is numb. Freezing freezing freezing, every now and then I need to find a shelter. I spend ten minutes here and there in a shop or some random heated place. The temperature is so extreme that if I didn't do that I could have serious injuries from the cold. It is almost minus thirty in the morning and ten degrees less at night.

I take my tablet out for short periods of time. I must take my gloves off to operate it and that's enough time for my fingers to freeze. The tablet is strong and works perfecty under these extreme temperatures. However, I must be careful of not putting it out in the heat of a home after carrying it on the street. The temperature change makes the tablet's screen wet and creates many parasite contacts which contaminate the touch capability of the screen. So I can't use it until the tablet warms up to the inside temperature.
At last, I make it near Po's address or at least to the nearby bus station where I am freezing wondering wheather my fingers will last long enough for me to find him. On the street, nobody has heared about Po, I wonder if I am on the right place.
Turns out that I am, Po is a nickname that alcoholics anonymous use so no wonder nobody knows him. He finds me and I come to his place. I didn't eat since yedterday noon, I couldn't buy anything because I didn't exchange my money yet and I still need to get my simcard.

I get a huge mongolian lunch at Po's place. He is living with his wife and wife's sister. The sister is always sleeping. She just lies on the bed there, in the middle of the day.
"Is she sick?"
"No she just likes to sleep"

Po operating my tablet


In the afternoon we go to Po's office. He is a construction technician and has just recieved a whole lot of furniture from china.
"Chinese shit. But we have to assemble it."
There are some people there who have already started. All friends from Alcoholics Anonymous who are eager to help a friend in need as he has once helped them.
"Es gibt kein biltplan. Wir sind das biltplan." (There is no build plan, we are the build plan) says one of the people. He speaks german and turns out that he is the son of a famous personality but since my blog is public, I won't disclose any specifics.

Being the son a famous personality is not easy. You can't live by your father's standarts, they are just too high. Tsoo also had and kind of always has obligations related to his dad's celebrity. Taking part in dinners and various invitations, that kind of stuff. And Tsoo had money, women and his own company. But in a short time everything I just mentioned dissolved into alcohol. The company went bankrupt, the money dissapeared and Tsoo, despite of being rich and indirectly famous ended up on the streets. That makes me wonder that it can really happen to anyone.
But then he stopped drinking and reconstructed his life. He is not rich anymore but he has a house and he has a life. And that, he says is more important than dreams of grandeur. Dreams of grandeur can be good but may destroy you when combined with too much ego and ignorance.

It is the tragic story of many former alcoholics. Alcohol combined with ego leads to doom.
I eat lunch with Tsoo. We don't have forks or chopsticks (in mongolia people eat with both) so we eat it with some folded business cards. Tsoo is a funny guy full of life, I like him a lot.
"You can go live at my place. I'm there alone, lots of room so you can come there with your girlfriend if you want"

Besides Tso, I meet some journalist who speaks russian and Tumur who speaks english and german. All these people have lost their lives to a certain extent but have managed to recover to reasonable living standarts. Some have lost their families, some have lost their wives, some have not.
We are assembling the chinese shit until night and Tumur is running from corner to corner with different tools, working like a machine. Him and Tso are the top workers. Po is sitting there with a great smile drinking coffee.
"That's hard work!" he says and bursts into laughter. Po always bursts into laughter.
"I am going to west mongolia at the end of the week." says Tumur, "wanna go with me?"

Janela is going to be late anyway, in fact I am starting to doubt that she is going to come at all given the problems she is facing on her end. So why not, why not go, I'll be back before she comes.
It grieves me a bit that Tumur is going to west, it feels like going back but it is a unique chance for me to see the mongolian countryside. Tumur has an aunt and uncle living in a village called Tsagaanchuluut which means white stone in mongolian and that's probaby all there is. Hitchhiking to mongolia in winter is already cool but how cool would it be to hitchhike not only to the capital but to the middle of nowhere, somewhere where people will tell you that you can't even get by bus, you have to take a paid tour.
Well I am going there with Tumur, about 1000 kilometers west of Ulaanbataar and I am going to see the desert stars.