After all this time without a word from me, you might be expecting some astute, well-worded posts. Surely I’ve had time to put something like that together, after all.
Sorry, folks. No such luck. Mostly I’ve spent the past two weeks in Russian van getting shaken half to death on mostly non-existent roads, which is not conducive to writing, typing, or really anything besides keeping your eyes on the horizon and trying not get sick. But it does give you plenty of time to think, to yourself or to those around you, and here are a few of those thoughts.
- Desert or no, the Gobi is awfully cold in October. In related news, I’m really glad I brought my deel.
- The Gobi is not particularly sandy, for the most part. However, the one part that is will kill your camera faster than you can protest.
- Camels make funny noises. And funny faces. Really, camels are just hilarious creatures.
- Yaks are, if possible, funnier.
- There is an enormous difference between long-term travelers and couples on vacation for a month. The former are far more fun to travel with.
- Kazakh milk tea > Mongolian camel milk tea > Mongolian cow milk tea. However, fermented camel milk < fermented horse milk.
- Horses are more difficult to milk than cows, and cows are no walk in the park.
- I miss American autumn. Khovd is well-treed, and the golden leaves everywhere made me amazingly homesick.
- Kazakh sounds remarkably Slavic. Which is to say that a Slovakian and a Kazakh can have what sounds, to a speaker of neither language, like a conversation, but does not successfully communicate anything.
- I have misplaced more things in the past month and a half than in the previous twelve combined. Some I have been able to get back; others, alas, are gone for good.
- Goats have a talent for mischief. Sheep have a talent for poor life choices.
- Eagles are enormous. And surprisingly heavy.
- You never really need to pee until the land around you has gone absolutely flat, with no cover to be had. Happily, extended travel makes you and your companions really good at not seeing people in need of privacy.
- Mongolia is really freaking gorgeous, even when it’s thwarting your need to pee.
- Sheep have funny butts that bounce when they run.