Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Cool Bruise

There's nothing more disgusting than posting pictures of personal injuries online. Unless of course they're mine. I'm especially proud of this one. It's like my firstborn child. Except now it's gone. But I remember it fondly. Gone but not forgotten.

Anyways, I'll just link to it so you can go HERE and HERE to see my amazing bruise!

Obviously there's a story to go with that beauty (I know you looked): It happened a little over halfway through our gad about Mongolia.

The night before it was conceived, James and I stayed in a camp by a hot spring. The only other guest was Mark from Thailand/San Diego - one of those very loud, not very self aware, forever-expat types. In other circumstances Mark would have annoyed me. Probably any other circumstances.

But seeing one of my countrymen after five days without meeting anyone who spoke English or Chinese was refreshing. We talked SC football in the bath until our fingers shriveled. Mark sure was loud. And nasally. Our yurts were adjacent. So every time Mark lost a hand of cards to his guide - GOD DAMMIT, WE'RE SCREWED - we heard about it.

Mark's expletives became a running joke. For the duration of our trip, any lull in conversation was fair game for a Mark impression. Eventually a speech impediment was added and it became, GAD DAMMET, WUH SCWOOED!

But I digress - Mark from Thailand/San Diego informed us there was a town with a grocery store somewhere back toward the direction of civilization.

"I'll get my girl to tell your guy you want to go there."

See Mark, lucky bastard, had an English-speaking guide.

Some hours, hills and valleys, and prolonged nausea later, we arrived in town. Dasha stayed with the van. James and I started across the parking lot.

Maybe I was distracted by the slaughtered cow in a truck bed that people were gathering around. Probably I just didn't have my head in the game: After a week of Choco Pies and Mutton, I had groceries on my mind and wasn't paying attention. All I know is one minute I was walking across a parking lot in a Mongolian town I never learned the name for - and the next I was halfway underground.

My first thought was utter calm; the inner monologue kicked in: "It's okay. If you fall in they'll just have to get you out." My second thought was, "But I don't want to get shitty or wet."

Neither proved necessary. I only had one leg in the manhole and I pulled myself up before I had more time to contemplate what lie beneath.

The manhole cover slammed down on my right leg as I struggled upward. Those covers are heavy. But I wiggled on out.

James and I spent a second trying to fit the cover properly so the next poor soul would be spared my misfortune, but gave up. It was seriously heavy. Maybe that's why the first guy didn't put it on right.

I was in a "woah. the universe is crazy, man." mood for the rest of the day. One day you're minding your own business, going about your life, and the next you fall into the ground. In a manhole. In Mongolia.

That night I rolled up my pajamas for commemorative photos.

And that's my bruise story. THE END

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