Smell Y'ah Later!
Even though I am a small woman, I have never been attracted to small men, and so countries where the men, though often strikingly beautiful from an aesthetic perspective, had more delicate bones than even I did, didn't quite tempt me. In Mongolia, I couldn't help but watch them, their bodies toughened from hard living and tumbling with their horses all day, with more than just a small degree of appreciation. Sometimes it could get downright distracting.
It didn't help matters any that Mongolian men were outrageously flirtatious. My new friend that had arrived by motorcycle ambled towards me, and jokingly elbowed me in the side, My breath caught in my chest. I was grateful my cheeks were wind burned enough that the man would not notice me blushing. Fortunately for me, he bent down lower, pushing me into his armpit and I picked up his scent. He smelled funny, the way most Mongolians smelled funny to me, a sour scent I attributed to years spent working around horses and a diet that consisted almost exclusively of Tolvin, a Mongol staple, which is essentially anything you can make with flour and mutton and the occasional carrot. I thought that the “vodka problem”, a direct translation from Mongolian, that some Mongolians seemed to have may have also contributed. On more than one occasion, the scent had saved me, kept me from acting like a complete and utter spaz because otherwise the men were pretty damned hot.
And with a ear to ear grin a woman emerging from the place where the Mongolian hotty had parked the motorcycle. She raced up towards me, laughing and placed a water bottle in my hand. Sain Bainuu/Hello,how are you I said in Mongolian, smiling and took the first sip. Then I reached into my pocket, pulled out some bells, and handed them to the old woman. Bells I had purchased from the market in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city. The bells are used as buttons on the Mongolian traditional coat called deel in the Mongolian language. A brilliant coat that serves as blanket, tent, pocket and travel bag when need be. Mongolians travel for days with nothing more then the belongings transported within their coat, one coat for summer and a warmer version for winter. The Mongolian people I have met are the most practical travelers I have met since beginning this cycling journey almost 7000 peddle miles and 9 countries ago. Not surprising given there nomadic roots.
Posted by Loretta Henderson