Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Relationship test

Temperature is dropping and dropping. -37°C according to the nearest weather station. Janela can't stay outside more than a small while before she freezes.
"I'm sending you a guide," says Tsoo, "he is going to guide you through the mountains to my place."
Turns out there is a path but the locals don't know it. Only Tsoo and his friend know this path because they are the ones building it.
His friend is a joyful guy who speaks some russian and very little english. He was a railway engeneer before becoming and alcoholic but he is better now, he loves life and pretty much everything. He loves us, the sky, the trees. He waits for us in front of the room. First, we wait for a bus. There are very few buses because of the cold but we end up finding one. Janela's feet have become ice meanwhile and we must bring them back to life in the heated bus. This happens pretty much every ride.
After a while we arrive on the side of the mountain where Tsoo's rescued us the day before.
We wait a little while at his mom's place to heat up a bit.

Happy grand'ma!

It is noon, the temperature is as high as it will get and we'll attempt the ascention. Janela nearly faints from the combination of temperature, effort and altitude. Our guide is still very joyful, he hugs the trees and says "I love you to everything".
He is like on weed except he's not on weed.
"Before I was a drunk, I loved only alcohol. But now I love everything in the world! I love trees, and snow and you!"
We climb one mountain, descend to the ridge. Janela can't feel her feet for some time now and she struggles to catch her breath. But she manages to make it forward, step after step. One more mountain to climb, up and down. I cut a branch to serve as Janela's walking stick which saddens our host deeply.
"Don't cut the trees! The trees are our friends, they love us and we should love them."

We make it to the monastary, at last. Janela falls into the bed and sleeps.
Our guide is very happy because we are not dead, everyday we survive is a bonus day to live.
"When I was a drunk I slept on the streets. One day I was left outside without my clothes in the snow. I slept there, my fingers got black from the frost, I thought I was going to lose them but I did not thanks to god. I slept in hallways, eating old bread that I put near water pipes to make it warmer."

He talks a lot, a lot of sad stories. It is interesting but time was running and our guide didn't seem to want to return back home. We are again in a romantic place and for once the owner is in town, we could have the place for ourselves. But we don't. Why can't things just be perfect for once?
After a while, our guide discards all his plans to leave. He decides that we are three good friends and that we should celebrate our friendship by having a friendly dinner and discussions by the fire.

Boy, girl, romantic place, candles on the table, didn't seen each other for three months... think think, hints anyone? In my book, that means: "leave us alone!"
"No fucking way!" I am not having another spoiled evening. "If you want to sleep here, fine, that's your right but we should have our room. I am heating the monastary room."
Our guide is taken aback, maybe the concept of privacy isn't as usual for him in his world of love everywhere. We can't kick him out to the cold, that would be inhumane and also, this place is more his than ours but this is so frustrating. I really get angry and the poor guide doesn't know what to do.
"Ok, ok, I'll help you heat the other room. I am a free man, I want to help you!"

Janela gives me a killing look. She is angry now. I've never seen her angry, I always considered her as a sweet and harmless angel; this is weird for me.
"What do you think you're doing? This guy went out of his way to help us, he really tries. He wants to help us, he doesn't understand we want to be alone. He just wants to help."
"Is he retarded or something?"
"Are you just using people to your own benefit and when you don't need them anymore you just throw them off?"

She might have a point here. Unfortunately, hitchhiking, especially in hard conditions has tought me nasty manners. I try to be respectful to people who help me but I have undoubtedly used some people, I can't deny that. I have put the value of what some people can provide in front of what they are as human beings. That is not what independent travellig should be about.
For once, I can blame my education on that. My father wasn't a very good example in that way, getting things done is more important than leaving a humane mark. A mark of decency and good conduct is enough and preferable.

But Janela is a good communicator, we can solve whatever issues we have. We sleep in the separate room anyway, it is heated by a good stove, no smokes leaks into the room. However, besides the stove running on full heating capacity and burning all the coal we had, we barely freeze.
In the morning, the sunrise is beautiful
"I can't take that cold anymore," says Janela, "it's a wonderful place but I can't sleep, I am tired from the cold."
We leave the monastary. Romantic but really too cold.
I suggest we go to the first family, the one I came with to China. I figure that since being quite rich and living in an american house, they'll have understanding for privacy. But it is easier said than done. It takes us the whole day to go from the monastary to the american hill. Janela freezes every fifteen minutes because the temperatures just get crazier and crazier. And her shoes are really bad.
However, we almost make it. We are lost 50 meters from the american house but we can't get in because of the fences. Since we are really frozen we just histerically knock ona random door: let us in!

We get tea and heat and we can continue. Unfortunately the good mongolian family is leaving for China in about 5 minutes. They pass us to another family also living in American hill. We are home and well treated but we feel a large disbelief about our couple. Some people seem to think that Janela is just too beautiful to be with me, some people are sceptical because of our cultural and religious differences.
We leave the next day, the father drives us downtown to a permanent place where we could be alone. At last. From that moment we can be alone and undisturbed with no one chasing us, not getting frozen to death and a million other things. At last.