The SOS clinic is clean, efficient, and supplies meds. The doctor there had the dodgiest, most inconsistent accent I’d ever heard. Said he was from South Africa and worked on cruise ships. We joked about the Happy DVD place where you could get one for two dollars but careful you don’t take them home with you, they are bootlegged merchandise, he said.
I had strep throat, as it turned out. I felt terrible sitting down to lunch but by the end practicing my flashcards with Chilaajav and his friend in the leather jacket had done the trick. I intentionally gave them the set I knew well. I thought, I just got diagnosed with strep throat and I’m in Mongolia and I still don’t even have my own apartment, I’m going to do this one thing to feel better. But I was able to say much more than when I arrived a little over two weeks ago and this was heartening. They insisted on my getting soup. “In Mongolia soup is very important. In the winter time”—which he always says with a “v” sound—“soup is very comfortable. If you are sick it is comfortable.” The mushroom soup arrived, cold and with not sour cream but honest-to-god whipped cream on top. Chilaajaav is forty and so is the Writer’s Union; he’d been gone all week to do things on national television to celebrate the anniversary.