Beyond Baatar (Part 1): Adventure Time?

Note: In this multipart series we take the adventure back into the wilds of Mongolia. Make sure you read them in order so you can appreciate the story properly.

I had the weirdest, little, nagging worry that booking a week in the Mongolian steppes at an adventure lodge might turn out to be boring.

Boy have I been vindicated.

We ended up at the adventure ecolodge after a bit of an ordeal. The kind lady who came to pick us up did so in a Prius. “Three and half hours.” She told us.

“But the website states an hour and a half.” I would have said except I know (but don’t approve) that time in foreign lands is an inexact science.

I found that she had faithfully factored in two flat tires and the crawling pace of the Prius. I’m not one to judge people for driving impractical cars in Mongolia but the Prius “squished” along, fat and lazy. Oh I miss the Marabby.

After the first tire underwent a dubious repair at a side stall tire shop I had some reservations. People call me a pessimist but ten minutes later the tire exploded again, the patch job flying through the air and into the countryside.

She wouldn’t let me change the tire myself, (and couldn’t do it herself) and called another of the camp personnel to come drive out to us to do it.

I’m glad they did, because they showed exactly how to not change a tire. Hans and I had shown Roberta the proper method but it is always good to learn from others mistakes.

“You don’t tighten the lug nuts until you have lowered the car back to the ground,” I told her, “otherwise the leverage from the wrench will pull the car off the jack.”

Promptly the car fell off the jack landing on the man’s foot.

You might think I preen myself and give my back a silent pat when I predict pessimist fortunes, instead I look down and examine my shoes embarrassed, pretending to not notice the Mongolian man hopping around shouting.

We eventually made it to the ger camp just outside the largest mine I have ever seen. When I say just, I mean the hill behind the camp barely covers the endless mountains of slag covering the horizon.

Now our ger is quite a delight, it is cozy, has a wall carpet of Genghis Khan glaring at us, and a rather large spider.

I discovered this spider hanging grumpily on Roberta’s bra just as she was reaching down to pick it up.

I told her something along the lines of “Don’t put that on.”

My intentions may have been misconstrued because she scoffed and almost initiated donning the article of clothing.

“No, I mean there is a giant spider on it.”

Roberta gave the most satisfying squeak of the type that cannot be faked. I ran to get my camera as she dropped the bra.

I put it on close zoom with my fanciest lens and crawled towards the enormous arachnid. I picked up the bra and shook it out only to find no spider.

“Where did it go?” I asked Roberta who had calmed right down and was eager to see the spider because she truly loves bugs even if they sometimes sneak up on her.

“I don’t know, you took so long. I thought you were getting a backdrop and a tiny stool for your spider subject.”

I ignored my critic as all budding professionals must do and made a fruitless search for the spider.

I was actually sad, because the spider had been the most exciting event for the last 24 hours. Unless of course running through a black fog of Death’s private mosquito horde while slapping your own face as you try to find your way back to camp, is exciting to you. If that is the case, this place is a real treat.