Day 184: Still in Mongolica

For the past couple of years, Mongolia has been transitioning to capitalism. Because of this, there is something like a 38% unemployment rate in the capital, and petty crime is through the roof. Additionally, prices on things vary wildly, from 75 USD for face wash Claire wanted to 50 cents hourly for internet (only Vietnam and India have been cheaper). The charming Zaya Backpacker Hostel (it may look like a prison on the outside, but it's a dream of wonder once you open the door!) is the fine host of this part of our journey.

We've been waylaid in this Capital-cum-Frontier town, due to complex and highly predictable factors like train schedules for the 10,000 km journey. It's okay though, because we went to the California Cafe for lunch, where we spent 3 hours working on money as we drank milkshakes. In the seventh month of this journey, we keep the equivalent of joint accounts for our purchases but even things out later, as we are extremely anal about every tiny cent difference in what we each spend on things like lunches, dinners, and face washes. Some people think we shouldn't worry about such little expenses, which is a good point. However, "not caring about little expenses" is a slippery slope, and so we made a promise from day one of this TrippingOnWords Amazing Race to To Care because then neither of us ever looks non generous, or anal, and instead we look competent and like we are Sticking To The Plan. Additionally, we think that Some People might be rich, which Claire and Lara are not.

Working on money means comparing our tiny books of tiny bleeding notes (dampness, monsoons, snow, dirt make them sometimes fairly illegible) and figuring out how much we each owe one another. Money, though, particular when dealing in currencies in which thousands or millions equal one dollar, is all vague and feels like big points in the sky. We are only about 3 months behind.

Tonight, we're looking for Mexican food again. We went somewhere else last night, with Russ the ex-Professional Poker player who we forgot we went to college with, and his colleague Canadian Dan. Russ spent a lot of time on video talking about why you should not marry a Professional Poker Player (insert every stereotype here for answer) and how to tell if people are lying. Sadly, Blog reader Sarah Mac's boyfriend Jacob couldn't find us at the Irish pub (although we were all there looking for eachother) and we couldn't find him, and so we hope to see him tonight at Bandito's.

We can't find anything in this city, because every street has three names (Russian, Mongolian, English) and every establishment seems to be hidden behind another one, so Russ is nice enough to GChat with us from his fancy hotel where the front desk is bringing a map to his room for our virtual benefit (update Jacob: it moved to the cross street of United Nations and Peace Avenue). If we onece again cannot spot each other, though, we will have another fun night of awkardly approaching single men to ask if they have a girlfriend with a broken leg.


Anonymous said...

Hi Claire and Lara, thanx 4 comenting on my blog! I hope you find Jacob and mexican food. Your blog is the best.


Anonymous said...


(a) the currency converter;
(b) world clock;
(c) plug and voltage guide; and
(d) accuweather

oh yeah and of course you guys could probably write this by now.

sarah mac said...

i'm glad my broken leg is good for something. because've either got one, or you don't! just hope the second pass works/ed out. xo

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