Trans-Mongolian Express: Day 2

Trip Start Jun 01, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

"We are damned and we are dead
All god's children to be sent
To our perfect place in the sun
And in the dirt" - Marilyn Manson

Day 2 dawned bright and rickety. The European Shithead Challenge had been concluded the night before, and I had failed miserably to catch Vinny. He won by 180 games to 160. We were now to break out a new deck of cards and begin the Asian Open.

I noticed a book on the little communal table, amidst the bottles of water and playing cards. Leather bound. Not a book actually. THE book. As in Good.

I went to find the restaurant car.

When I returned an hour or so later, after eating poached eggs burnt into a metal skillet served by a large, rotund russian lady with pigtails and gold teeth, Vinny had woken up. And he was giving me the look we have that means "I've got something to tell you, but I can't say it in front of these two girls". I nodded, silently saying "I can only imagine".

During my absence, Vinny had exchanged pleasantries with the girls - as is his style. Then, quite randomly, the Estonian girl handed him a leaflet and asked him what he thought. I read the same thing later... It was called All Suffering Soon to End. He had smiled politely after reading and handed it back wordlessly.

The harsh reality of the situation hit with full force.

We were sharing a cabin for five days with two Jehovah's Witnesses.

I mean...... We didn't even have a scale for such a thing.

They were on their way to Mongolia to spend a month being Missionaries. It had been decided by whoever decides such things that the Mongolians needed to stop worrying about things like herding Yaks and living in a desert, and start worrying about the end of the world being nigh, repenting, embracing, and getting ready for a good old-fashioned apocalypse.

I tried extremely hard not to talk to them about religion. I have unique views. I told myself that if I HAD to engage them in debate, I could at least wait a day or two. It was a long way to Mongolia. But if they happened to bring it up, well, it was fair game.

They had three books, which they spent most of their time reading. One was the Good Book, one was a small book entitled "How to be a good family member" and the third was the literary classic "The Jehovah's Witness Handbook 2006".

Considering that we could probably trust them not to steal our stuff (although we weren't so sure about trusting them not to damn our souls to hell for all eternity), we spent a good portion of the rest of the day in the restaurant car.

And the restaurant car was pretty rubbish. There was one menu, so you had to wait your turn, and they only had three different things, and one of them was the aforementioned eggs a la metal skillet. And the rotund lady with the pigtails and the gold teeth was probably the best thing about the place. And she was a lunatic.

But we managed to knock up around a thousand miles and I managed to not get involved in a religious debate.

And so to bed.
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