Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Incomparable Camber Carpenter

Holy Ridiculous Awesome Week Batman!!!!

For those of you who do not know Camber Carpenter, people as far away as Mongolia and Texas feel sorry for you. Camber was here for a week and we had ever so much fun. She arrived laden with luggage, which proved to be mostly full of carbs and presents for Caitlin. Apparently she was afraid of starving. Don't worry Mrs. C, she did not. We immediately shared a panini at Amsterdam cafe and then shortly after that we went to Veranda and had pasta. Camber ordered fish which was risky, but I think she liked it. Jenny I shared meaty spicy pasta. And there was some wine. Then we slept, which was boring.
Day 2
We went to Terelj National Park and Camber rode a camel with 88 Bikes volunteer Jenny and sang show tunes. We ate at the hotel I had Mid-Service Training in and they were just as rude as before, so that was fun. I had rice and egg with itty-bitty bits o' peppers, camber had rice and raisins and a tomato and cucumber salad, and Jenny had gross fishy tofu, and we all shared some bing, which is like hard tortillas only not as delicious. I like talking about food. We saw the rock shaped like a turtle and looked for the rock referred to as "Old Man Reading a Book" and may have seen it but it looked more like a lego man without a book, unless it was the stuffed horse licking a foot looking rock. Who's to know? Then we went back to UB and ate at Hazara's. Camber and I shared murgh makhan, or butter chicken, which was awesome and we all ate a crap ton of nan. Then we slept again. also boring.
Day 3
In which our two stalwalt friends head of on their whirlwind Mongolian hoodoo adventure.
After waking up quite early, Camber and Caitlin bid Jenny adieu to yieu and yieu and yieu, and head to Dragooon Tov and board the bus to Tsetserleg, Arvkhangai (the Switzerland of Mongolia) without incident. Well, not really, there are always incidents, but nothing major. Camber got sat on and harassed to buy long underwear while Caitlin taught her things about Cyrillic. Much laughter. For lunch we stopped at Sansar, otherwise known as the Pig Stop, and ate manto (steamed dough) and drank milk tea. And bought awesome cookies that are not gross, mom! Even Camber likes them!
We got to Tsetserleg around 3 and met Tim, another PCV who used to work with Camber's mom. It's a small world after all! We ate at Fairfield, the wonderful inn and restaurant owned by people who know what is delicious. Carrot bread, cake, steak sandwiches, burgers, burritos, cappuccino. I would say "UNFAIR!!!!", but I am a grown-up, so instead I say, "It sure is nice that this is here for you folks." Then we went to Tim's nice apartment and chatted for a while. Then more food. Chicken Kabobs at another restaurant!! Then more chatting. Then the boring sleep time.
Day 4
Coffee! Oatmeal! Then more conversation. Then more Fairfield. Just cake and more coffee though. And some bread to take to Marissa. Then we negotiate for a car. And by we, I mean me. I felt very proud of my minimal language skills. Don't worry Camber! I will not let drivers rip us off or take us anywhere we do not want to go!!! Yea!!! So after waiting an hour or so for more passengers, we were off! We stopped once and Tim ran around like a crazy person. He likes running. Ask him about it. He's good at it. Then we ade it to Kharkhorin, but alas, the meeker would not take us to Marissa's ger, despite my pleas and boasts of being volunteers. So Tim ran after a car to see if they would be our taxi, and fell in a ditch full of snow that looked like ground, but was in fact a ditch full of snow. But he jumped out very quickly and was barely even covered in snow and persuaded a police man to call us a taxi. Meanwhile, Marissa had started walking towards us, so we picked her up on the way. She had to sit on Tim though. We had a lot of baggage. At Marissa's ger we laughed and cooked soup and Mama's Fried Potatoes and played Password which Tim is very good at. Except when he is not. Then we got out Marissa's crack den mattress for Camber, and I made Marissa share with me, and Tim was left to find the softed bit of floor. Poor Tim.
Day 5
It was pretty cold in the morning, but Camber was a trooper and a big helper. Marissa made us breakfast and her Mongolian Dad went to find us a car (What a nice guy!!) and we played more Password! Then the car came and for a minute I was like, "wow! We will not be squished!!" Then I realized that was dumb. Our driver took us to the monastery (Erdene Zuu) and drove off will our stuff. I was completely confident he would come back...almost. We looked around and I bought a Buddha necklace and some pretty earings because my hair is still pretty short and I wear earrings to be more girly. Tim bought a really old prayer book. I told the lady who sold me my necklace to wear gloves, so she put some on. I am a good influence. Then we went outside the compound to wait for the car and discovered some Mongolian dogs are nice and giant wood doors to a Buddhist temple are fairly decent heat conductors, and feel awesome when you put your face on them. Also, it makes Mongolian laugh. Then our car came with 4 more people in it and we will off!
After some Password in the car and much giggling which I am sure Tim appreciated being in the middle of, we stopped and dropped off one of passangers on the side of the road, and Tim moved to the back to sit next to Stinky McDrunkerson. Once in Arvaikheer, we dropped all out stuff of at my ger and went to sitemate Babila's apartment for a 5 course meal. Yum. He bought an exercise bike that I look like a midget riding. All 5 resident PCVs were there, plus Erin from a tiny soum, Marissa and Tim. Most of the VSO volunteers, and a few Mongolians. Much fun was had by all.
Tim, Camber, Joyce, and I took a cab to Joyce's apartment to get Babette la chat, then continued on to my ger, sans Joyce. Then we had to go on a wood hunt adventure and found wood and coal! Yipee!
Day 6
It was not cold in the morning due to the coal. I made french toast and then the 3 of us went to climb up to the Russian Friendship Monument, which was pretty, and windy. After climbing down and finally finding a taxi we had to convince the bus man to sell us tickets for the bus the next day, which he did not want to do. But did eventually. More food at Loving Hut and much more laughter ensued before once again boring sleep.
Day 7
Tim got up early was driven to the bus station by our good friend Oyunchimeg so she could explain that he only wanted to ride as far as the Pig Stop. I was confident in his ability to fanangle a ride back home. Which he did no problem. Camber and I went to Bookbridge which was closed, my school which was boring, and the museum which was awesome. Then more food at the new fried chicken place. And back on a bus. This time for lunch at the Pig Stop we ate the Spicy Thai Tuna thing my mom sent me with crackers, which was awesome. And bought more awesome cookies that are delicious and not awful.
We arrived in UB around 8 and ran into my monk friend Baatar (MONK HERO!) who gave us a free ride to Mongol Steppe guesthouse and helped carry our bags up the 3 flights of stairs! He really is a monk hero. We dropped our crap and immediately went to American Burger & Fries (AB&F) for some american burgers and fries. And ice water. ICE! Back at the guesthouse we showered and exchanged significant looks at the weirdness of our fellow guesthouse guests. Not a fun weirdness like we possess but more like I hope he doesn't kill us in our sleep weirdness.
Day 8
He did not kill us in our sleep, which is good, because Day 8 is
First:Coffee. Need Coffee. Just me though. Camber needs no coffee. But I like her anyway. And PANCAKES! We both need pancakes. Then Peace Corps. Then Chingiss in the square, which my mom says is more of rectangle. Then an art gallery and a drunk man who said he was the artist, but we did not believe him. Then souvenir shopping. Camber bought postcards and magnets. I bought a hat to remember are time together and to keep my ears from falling off.
Of course, then it was time to feed again. Salads for both of us at Granville Irish Pub and then foot massages, which Camber treated me to, because she is extremely generous. Yea Camber!
We looked around the market for a bit and took some funny pictures by the Beatles and b a penguin and polar bears. A little more shopping and it was time for PIZZA, Camber's last meal in Mongolia and probably Caitlin's 837th to last meal in Mongolia. That's math! Then for desert we had apple huushuur, a traditional Mongolian food, except for instead of fat and mutton, there are apples and cinnamon, with ice cream on the side. Perfection! Thus Camber's visit ended, not with tears at the sorrow of parting, but with the laughter of ridiculous girls. Excuse me: Ladies.
love, C


kate said...

LOL! Yes, I am sitting in my Denver living room, looking at a winter sun, that is a 60-degree-more-like-autumn-damn-global-warming sun, laughing, laughing at your funny sense of adventure. You're awesome.

Camber Carpenter said...

it was like I was there all over again!!!
A week of Mongol fun! I may never be the same again.
Thanks for being the best tour-guide ever and thanks for mega-blogging...I need to catch up.

Gabb said...

I love your stories <3

You're going to need to write another novel while you're in UB, preparing to celebrate Christmas!