Day 42: Tsenkher to Lake Ugii , The van tour (Day 4)

A single motorcycle track is imprinted on a sunlit sandy lake shore.
Sunset shoreline.

I had a lot of strange dreams last night. Maybe it was the vodka?

Invariably these dreams involve my ex girlfriends. I wonder if I’m still trying to figure out my old relationships, in the same way that I’m still trying to figure out my old self.

Girlfriend 1, at her house. She is partially obscured behind a plastic curtain. I can’t see her, but her mother is glad that she has a friend there. Flashes of a wild beach.

Girlfriend 2’s friend making advances. I assume these fail, because this is followed by a beautiful sunset, holding girlfriend 2.

And then, a reference to my upcoming Mongolian lessons. Try as I might I can’t stay awake to sit the Mongolian language exam. I try to navigate a sterile white university building. Turn right, right, right.. or just use the code?

Waking up is a mixture of disappointment and relief.

My nightmares are banished as the hot morning sun triggers off halcyon memories of hot summer days.

I remember the ambient Vainqueur remix I made in Tutchen Ave: Solanus, the god of the pure east wind. And of listening to Monolake’s Gobi album. 110° 35′ south 45° 58′ west – the place once seemed so distant, it’s probably just a stone’s throw away now.

I make a super slow Facebook post using my EDGE connection. And I think about work, accessibility versus design. The challenge is to make a site that appeals to both audiences. But there’s definitely not enough bandwidth to do web development out here.

We set off, passing through desert and deserted towns.

A menacing lone wolf watches us from behind a sturdy fence. I’m glad that it’s just a statue.

Passing through a wooden archway, the van bumps and rattles over makeshift roads before coming to a lopsided standstill.

Our driver gets out and inspects the left side of the vehicle. I join him and we both stare at the flat tyre. It looks like I’ll get a taste of the inevitable rural breakdown experience after all.

But the problem is quickly and proficiently dealt with, an old plastic bag providing protection for knees on the dirt road.

The new tyre isn’t so new and has some cracks in it. I cross my fingers and pray that it will last the rest of the way to Lake Ugii and back.

Back on the road, the surface becomes sandier and I’m amazed at how it doesn’t slow the four wheel drive down. I can imagine grinding up the hills on a loaded bike, slowly losing a vain battle for traction.

After a stop for petrol and to fix the tyre properly, we head on to the lake.

Lake Ugii is pretty, in a Mainland Cheese kind of way, but I’m getting pretty annoyed with my travel companion.

She has flipped into full organisation mode, ruthlessly stripping me of my savoured self-sufficiency. When she takes over building the fire, even when I just said that I like doing that, I decide that I hate her and this trip is now the exact opposite of my self-affirming adventure and I just want to get back to Ulaanbaatar ASAP.

Blah blah blah, something really obvious, don’t you think?

And, That may be what you think, but here’s what I think (looks for group approval).

And, I can see you’re already doing the thing that needs to be done first but How about you do the next thing, would that be an idea?

Grrrrrr! Go and live your own life – I’m quite happy with mine thank you!

And maybe I am. Maybe when I say that I’m not happy, or that I wasn’t happy in New Zealand, maybe what I mean is that I am still figuring out that being on my own is best.

Maybe I need to work, live and love on that basis, rather than struggling to adopt society’s seductive pledge of a perfect partnership.