Back in the car my stomach grumbled with the onset of what I call Traveler’s Puke and Shit. I focused on the brown shape of Toya’s upper arm there in the unnatural (to me) position of left-side passenger in the front. We were rarely on the road in the search for her friends’ ger, crossing rocky outcroppings, enduring the smack of rock on the bottom of the car (which belongs to Toya’s music producer husband) and Toya’s ensuing and immediate hiss at Nemo. Occasionally, though, we’d find our way back to a roadway and it would wriggle across the slowly shifting plains in front of us, ever the river or snake.
We saw a big silver point Chinggis Xhan in the middle of nowhere, erect on his gigantic shining horse and annoying the hell out of Toya. The government spent a lot of money on that, she said simply. The hundred Peace Corps Volunteers operating in Mongolia as well as any of the country’s citizens could tell you how many homeless children and adults crowd down into the heating pipe underworld each winter.
It happens. My friend was telling me how the dictator of Turkmenistan spends all of the government's money making crazy statues of himself to put in the desert. There's a huge Buddha in the Gandan Monastery just west of me in Ulaanbaatar. HUUUUGE like three stories tall, and they apparently LOST the other one in Siberia. I'm like, that's hard to believe that's a big ass Buddha statue dawg just, like, lost somewhere in the tundra, not even somewhere where there are hindrances to visibility at all.