Lost in the Mongol Rally

September 5, 2011 10 Comments »

Mongolia Roads
X marks the spot…if we only knew where we were!

We are traveling in Mongolia with a map that is five years old.  This normally wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but in a country where roads are only dirt, and they change every season as new tracks are made, this IS a big deal.  Every day, we start off confident in our direction.  Then, about 30 minutes later, a plague of doubt drifts into the car – sort of like the Angel of Death creeping into Egyptian streets via a glowing green cloud in the movie The Ten Commandments. 

Slowly, it enters each of our minds first…a little nagging voice, “Are we going the right way?”  “Where is the main road?” “We haven’t seen any other cars for a long time.” You shake it off and silently think – of course, we are on the right road.  But the voice comes back, again and again…until it finally finds volume and someone verbalizes it in the car.  Then, the group worrying begins.  Compasses come out, maps are unfolded, and we all look for any person or vehicle along the road that we can ask.

Learn about the Mongolia nomad culture first-hand

We have become really good at stopping moving vehicles (minibusses, construction vehicles, SUVs, and people on horseback) to ask them if we are going the right way.  We’d bring a map, try to pronounce the town we were hopefully heading towards, and then point in all directions in a frantic motion.  They didn’t need to speak English to understand what we were asking.  99% of the time, they pointed us in the direction we were already heading.  We’d get back in the car confident of our navigation…for a whole total of 30 minutes before this process would start again!

One thing that held true for our entire time in Mongolia was that we felt that the road we weren’t on was always better than the one we were on.  I don’t know that there is any truth to that – but that ‘grass is greener’ attitude has a strong pull in the brain when you have miles and miles of roads ahead of you and too many options!

The signs really weren’t very helpful…however, if you look closely, we did leave our SMS mark!

Mongolian food in the Gobi Desert – it’s not what you think

Rick is asking for directions…

Why you should visit the Gobi Desert

Deb, with all the tools and our out-of-date map, is an exercise in futility.
mongolia roads
Are we going in the right direction????

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