The omelet I cooked for breakfast Dolgormaa’s dad was pretty bad. I didn’t like it. I should have added more onion. And I forgot to ask for cinnamon. And, the sausage I used is very fatty and tastes terrible when cooked. Oops. I always cook something American-like for my hosts when I travel, and usually people love it, or at least like it. Not this time, though. That’s the problem with using local ingredients sometimes. They look similar, but aren’t quite the same.


Car Trouble– More Like Car Drama

After breakfast Dasha had to take his Toyota SUV to the mechanic for some kind of car trouble. I went along, because I didn’t want to get stuck sitting in the apartment like yesterday morning. I’d much rather be out seeing things and exploring.  Dasha’s vehicle was just serviced yesterday, but needed something else checked. Anything beyond that, I probably wouldn’t have understood, even if he’d been able to explain in English. We went along calmly through the heavy UB traffic—they really need roads that are more than 2 or 3 lanes wide.

Mongolia Ulaan Baatar City Traffic. car trouble

City strategy: Drive as close as possible to the car in front of you, so no one else can squeeze in. In some places there are 3 lanes, with 1 for buses and 2 for everyone else.

We went around some curves and I was looking into shop windows as we sped by. And, then, suddenly the vehicle started totally breaking down– overheating, oil and water gauges going crazy and the check engine light came on. Dasha looked stressed, as would anyone when their vehicle has a major issue. We stopped to let the engine cool down and then went a few more blocks until the gauges went crazy again. We did this several times—going a few blocks and then stopping for 10 minutes, going, stopping. That became the entire morning. Poor Dasha! Car trouble is the worst!


The Mechanic’s Home

We finally made it to the mechanic’s home, but he wasn’t there. After a while, and a walk to the corner convenience store for water, we left the vehicle in his fenced backyard. Another vehicle was also at this  repair shop for some last-minute car trouble, too. They looked like a family a trying to leave for a road trip, as there were a couple of men and a couple of women inside and luggage in the back of their vehicle.

Mongolia Ulaan Baatar City Car Repair Shop. car trouble

Car repair shop yard left to right: The main brick house for living; a small outbuilding, which might be the repair shop; a ger (similar to a yurt) for living.

Dasha made some phone calls, and a family member of Dashas lent Dasha a little car for the day—I think it may belong to his ex-wife, or her friend. Anyway, his ex-wife was somehow involved in obtaining this little car—another thing in Mongolia that I will never fully understand, but probably doesn’t matter for me. Either way, it was very nice of whomever loaned Dasha the car.

Errands Around Ulaan Baatar

Continuing our errands, we went to Dashas’ friends house, who is a tour guide and showed Dasha a map of where to take me in Gobi and gave him pages of handwritten GPS points. Dasha will borrow a GPS from another friend, but at this point I’m pretty nervous. I really really do not want to be stuck in Gobi desert if his car breaks down.

It’s June and I imagine it is similar to Death Valley, California in summer where temperatures rise to obscene levels. And everyone knows I can get lost going around the block, so even apart from the vehicle breaking down, if something were to happen to Dasha, I would be lost in a vast, hot desert.

This is pretty much the scariest thing I’ve ever gone into on a trip. Trips are a low key thing for me, and I love them. Now, I’m getting fearful and worried and don’t know if I want to go to the Gobi anymore.


Next Chapter: Visiting the Ulaan Baatar Black Market Bazaar

Previous Chapter:  Walking Home in Ulaanbaatar

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