My dad’s travel journal part 11

by sumpteretc

Saturday, August 28, 2010:
Happy 40th wedding anniversary to Carol and me! We were married at the Overland Park Church of God (Holiness) on this date…40 years ago. However….
because of the time difference here in Mongolia, the actual hour of our wedding anniversary is still almost a full day away. Since we didn’t make any plans for a grand celebration…all is well. We have a bed & breakfast stay awaiting us back home…compliments of our children.
Sleep was good last night…softer bed, cool air, stomach improving, Carol’s throat is healing, etc….stayed in the sack until 7 AM. I guess Carol may have been up earlier, but I wasn’t awake enough to know. The Kansas City Chiefs game is just coming on the TV, via Slingbox…from Matthew’s house in Overland Park. Pre-season games don’t excite me much, but being on the other side of the world…I watch. At halftime, Philadelphia leads 10-7 (they lost!). They tell us that it is to be 91 degrees in Kansas City tomorrow. The high temperature here in Mongolia will be in the mid-60s. Breakfast this morning…homemade biscuits with sausage gravy…tasty! There is to be no paid helper today, so Carol is the dishwasher. She’s been trying to be helpful, but has been discouraged from doing too much as it takes away the helper’s chores. After the football game, Chris, Carol, and I headed for the street, where we could catch a microbus and go to the Black Market. Our driver wasn’t too bright and took some bad turns in heavy traffic. At one point, Chris said that we had been within 100 feet of the market, but the man kept driving and driving….for about 20 minutes or so. Eventually we arrived. A light ran had begun to fall and it continued to drizzle on us, and onto some of the merchandise. The market was an incredible place. There were hundreds of booths, or so it seemed, and, I think they sold everything that has ever been made. People pushed and shoved (usually in a nice way) in almost every aisle. Sometimes a vendor would drag a box of merchandise into the center of one of the crowded aisles, and make things even worse. Chris bought a block of cheese and some freshly butchered beef. I bought a furry Mongolian hat for 25,000 tugrik. People who didn’t want to pay the 50-tugrik (3 1/2 cents) fee to get into the market, were climbing over huge train container boxes, alongside some barbwire, and then down into the booths. Some of them were even carrying merchandise to sell. I couldn’t tell that anybody cared. Just seemed silly, though. After some time of wandering through the chaos, we took another micro in which to go home. It had over 20 people in it…a very tight fit. I think I had only one small portion of one rear cheek…on a seat. It wasn’t comfortable at all! After we got out of that situation, we walked to a nearby bakery to get a birthday cake for Joel. They didn’t have a great selection, so he ended up with one that looked more like an anniversary cake…two swans on it. Around 3:30 PM, we arrived back at the apartment and had a late lunch of homemade chicken tacos, salsa, etc. At 5 PM, Chris took Carol & me back out to shop for souvenirs. We put out our hand and a car stopped to pick us up. Before I had all my legs inside (one foot was still on the ground), the young female driver took off. I think she then realized it, and hesitated briefly while I continued entering the car. We shopped at a number (maybe 6-8) of souvenir stores…from the huge State Department Store (in a tall skyscraper)….to tiny basement shops. We went to “Martha & Mary’s” a couple of times. Chris visited with a British lady there who knew him. Their store purchased Mongolian crafted items and then helped the families of alcoholics, prisoners, etc. We bought a number of items, but one was an angel ornament made from the glass of a liquor bottle….from which the proceeds would go to families devastated by alcohol. We saw the results of the liquor trade outside, …in the form of a drunken man, lying on the sidewalk…oblivious to all the people stepping around him. At one intersection, as we waited to cross the street, we saw two cars, covered in writing. Chris identified them as “rally cars”. There was a road-race with drivers going across Mongolia in cars for which they had paid no more than $1,000. They had to try and survive the grueling journey on those terrible roads. We shopped until around 7:30 PM,…purchasing camels, purses, hats, small gers, and many other items for friends and family. We had lots to carry, so took another hired car home. This driver quizzed Chris about America, its wages, visas, etc. When we got to the apt., Tiffany was bathing the boys. Afterwards, we had birthday cake with Joel. He liked the taste, and didn’t seem to mind the grown-up decorations. It was then time for devotions and we headed for our rooms. Tiff had a headache and we were pretty tired. Chris continued to work at his computer, checking on geocaches, reading correspondence, putting comments on facebook, etc. I finished writing these notes by 9:00 PM. It seemed like it should be later. Another day done!