Wednesday, September 16, 2015

My night of wreckage

There will be no pictures for this blog post because most of the action took place under cover of darkness. I am surprised that everybody is being so nice to me after what happened.

It all started when we went to bed in our ger, or Mongolian tent. We’re spending the night in a little ger community, and we have three beds. Our guide and her daughter took one bed, and Carrie and I took the other two. Our driver slept in his van. Everybody in our ger went to bed around 11:00, some reading later than others. Certainly, however, everybody was asleep when my phone rang around midnight. It didn’t just ring, either. Somehow the volume rested on maximum, so the phone fairly bellowed.

I snaked out of my sleeping bag and lurched over to the phone, which finally responded to my second or third attempt to answer Alla’s call. She’d been confused about how recently she’d missed my call and thought it would be OK to call me at midnight. I mangled the Russian language in my attempt to explain that she’d awoken an entire village and then I went off to the community restroom, which has flush toilets.

When I came back, I silenced my phone and went back to bed, wondering whether I’d remembered to latch the door but deciding not to thrash around anymore because the door squeaked and I hoped to notice if an intruder intruded. Some hours later, the door indeed squeaked and I could see that it wasn’t fully closed. Uh-oh. I couldn’t see inside our ger and I didn’t want to be a jerk and shine my flashlight on the other beds so I decided to go to the restroom again and I’d worry only if I didn’t encounter one of us there.

The door of our ger community was tied shut. Huh. Nobody could have just gone to the toilet through that gate. I looked around, peed on the fence and returned to bed, locking the door. As I drifted off to sleep, I heard a tugging on our door. I looked. A flashlight went on, lighting up the crack between the door and frame. More tugging. I slithered out of bed again, and found Carrie outside, trying patiently to solve her problem.

In the morning, I went out to the bathroom and took a shower. Carrie came in as I shaved. Presently she called to me from the other side of a door, asking for toilet paper. I went to get some, but couldn’t find any inside the ger. I tried to get some from the van instead, but Ogi had locked the door. He woke up saw me at the window, rolled over and fell off the seat in a tangle of blankets. Still half asleep, he then proceeded to fall over the back seat in his efforts to fish some TP from the cargo area. This completed my night’s work, since he’d probably been too far from the ger to benefit from my previous efforts.

I’ll try to be less destructive in the coming days.

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