Just after midnight, the three of us arrive at the family’s 3rd floor apartment somewhere in Ulaan Baatar. I’m not familiar with the city, and after a 30 minute drive through Mongolian dust and darkness, I really have no idea where in the world I am. I suppose that there is no elevator in the building, because Dasha insists on carrying my luggage up all the stairs. Although I completely appreciate this gesture, I feel so guilty at having overpacked and insist on carrying my big green backpack, at least.
Settling in for the Evening
Dasha and his father kindly settle me in with a mug of hot chai, cookies, bread and jam. They also give me a brief home tour showing me to my bedroom. Actually, it’s Dolgormaa’s room, but she’s on her business trip in Japan. And the bathroom. It’s two separate room, with the sink and shower in one room and the toilet in another room. I briefly wonder how hand washing works. Whatever; I’ll figure it out later. I request the Wi-Fi password, but am met with a shake of their heads and “ask Dolgormaa”. Dasha departs with a promise to return in the morning and I just want to climb into the cozy bed.
However, before going to bed I must take care of things. Actually, just one thing– letting others know I’ve arrived safe and sound. Nervously I open the laptop in Dolgormaa’s bedroom, hoping it isn’t password protected as it powers up. Thankfully it’s not! Just as she requested, I send her a Facebook message letting her know that I have arrived safely at her home. She’ll see it when she awakes in Japan.
Hi! I’m at your home now. Your dad gave me chai and cookies and bread with jam. Do you know the wifi password, so I can get on with my iPhone? Right now I’m on your laptop. Thanks!
I hope Dolgormaa’s business trip is going well. Her family is so nice, and I feel completely comfortable in her home. I’m so thankful for her family’s kindness, because as a traveler one just never knows how things will be until arrival. The surprises are a huge joy and only add to my travel experiences, but the nervousness about the unknown is sometimes nerve-wracking.
My Cozy Bed
A few minutes later I snuggle into Dolgormaa’s narrow and cozy bed. I finally lie down horizontally! I am one of those lucky people who can sleep in airplane seats, but that doesn’t mean it’s restful sleep– it’s definitely not the same as lying flat. So, after 26 hours of movement, I fall into bed exhausted. No matter how much I adjusted and readjusted the headrest and my travel pillow on the airplane in my economy class seat, nothing is the same as 180 degrees. If you’ve ever been on a long flight or car drive, or maybe just a really long day at work, you know how it is. Right?
This story goes on a little while longer. Feel free to check out the Comprehensive Mongolia Travel blog post if you’re planning a trip of your own, or browse the Mongolia photos. And, the Home page is here.
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