thanks to all these good people in Mongolia.
First and foremost, I thank Lara Ho and Katy Clemow, Returned
Peace Corps Volunteers who served in Mongolia, for sharing their Peace
Corps experiences with me before I left the United States. Your enthusiasm,
pictures, and stories certainly prepared me to take full advantage of the
wonderful adventures that are uniquely Mongolian.
The Sumiya family of Airag. Hunda, Bazar, and
little Anya, you appeared at the edge of your town when I rode up;
as if in anticipation of my arrival, you seemed to be waiting for me.
I was exhausted, hungry and as grubby as grubby can be. You invited
me into your home. You satiated my hunger with delicious meals.
You gave me a wonderful bed, where I slept like a dead man. You let
me bathe with warm water. You provided a safe haven in a raging storm.
I hope you continue to play hearts; I look forward to the day we play together
again. Thank you.
Bob Wolf and Christine Ryan and Eric Ellis, Peace
Corps Volunteers, thank you for welcoming me to your sites and for sharing
your Peace Corps worlds with me. Bob, I’ll never forget your Hello
Dolly. Christine, thank you particularly for sharing your pharmacy
with me when I was under the weather. Eric, thanks for letting me
meet with your special English class and for inviting me to crash in your
pad. I'll not forget my last night in Mongolia, my crib under the
star-spangled banner, children usurping the public address system in the
railroad yard across the street, forest fires on the horizon liting the
evening skies. Thanks also for your logistical help and for facilitating
my early morning departure on the train to Russia - all went extremely
smoothly. All three of you have impacted your communities in huge
and wonderful ways. Congratulations. I wish you continued success
as you complete your service. May you share the magic of your
Peace Corps experiences long after you leave Mongolia. Thanks for
being so friendly and so helpful.
The many Truck Drivers and others who gave me water and interesting
food during my arduous ride across the Gobi. In the wilderness you
do not ignore your fellow man. Your gifts went beyond helping to
sustain a man in the desert, they were gifts of friendship. Thank
Teachers and students of the International School of UlaanBaatar,
thank you for your welcome and participation in the New millennium Ride.
The following teachers require an honorable mention: Sheila Symon
and Paul Hamilton (Bar-B-Q chef extraordinaire), Judy Knox,
and Frances Kuret. I admire your dedication and determination,
your willingness to try something new and your readiness to share in the
adventure of learning. Thank you for your assistance and support.
The Verdoes family (John, Beth, Amelia, Braham),
thank you for your hospitable welcome to UlaanBaatar. The hot showers,
big meals, laundry facilities, cribbage, interesting conversations, videos
(“Casa Blanca” and “Being There”) were all wonderful diversions, treats
after the ride across the Gobi. An additional thank you for letting
me store my gear under your ping pong table while I explored and visited
in and around UB.
Graham Taylor, of Karakorum
Expeditions, thanks for your enthusiastic support of the New Millennium
Ride. I am particularly grateful that you were willing to participate
in the school bicycle ride to the Lotus Children’s Home – you provided
bikes for the children who did not have their own and you lead the way
over hill and dale. The great success of that ride was due in large
part to your leadership. Thanks also for sharing some of your secrets
about UB and the various ex-pat programs going on. I look forward
to riding with you again.
Ambassador and Mrs. Durham (aka John and Shan), thank
you for your invitations to join in the fun at the Steppe Inn at the British
Embassy. The Friday evening happy hours and the Children’s Charity
Bar-B-Q offered wonderful opportunities to meet and mix with the colorful
characters of UB’s ex-pat community. The Attain Orgil concert was
one of the highlights of my visit in UlaanBaatar. Thank you.
Melissa Dunn and Nick Berryman ( aka, Major Nick,
USMC), thank you for sharing fun times with this old man: Tuesdays’ Hash
House Harriers, the Run for AIDS, beers at local watering holes, dinners,
stories, laughs – unforgettable memories. Keep in touch.
Michael I. Gorbunov, Secretary of the Consular Department, Embassy
of the Russian Federation in Mongolia, thank you for taking an interest
in the New Millennium Ride and for granting me a visa to bicycle through
Tatiana Klimova, Branch Manager of Red Star Travel (email@example.com),
thank you for your kind assistance and for connecting me with Michael.
Not only have you opened the door to Russia for me, you have shared valuable
information about the areas I propose to visit. I go to your country
with great expectations. Thank you.
Jean Claude Marcelin and Ms Dogsmaa of the Internet
Cafe, thank you for your enthusiastic interest in the New Millennium Ride
and for letting me use your computers to update the NMR Web site.
(Visitors to UB are encouraged to stop in and visit the Internet Cafe.
You will not find a nicer place to check you email, work on documents or
sit and listen to mellow jazz and local music. Everyone gets their
own computer work station at the Internet Cafe. Check it out – http://www.mongolnet.mn/bodicomputer
-conveniently located just east of the Circus, near two Italian restaurants!)
Good luck with your business and many thanks.
To the Ruprais, Manimohan, Bhagirthi, and Sarang,
dinner at your home in the Summer Palace was perfect – not only was the
food (lamb curry, raita, and dal with rice) scrumptious, the conversation
was rich. It was fun to hear about Mozambique (a different Mozambique
than the one I knew in the early 70s) and the other places you have lived.
I particularly enjoyed the philosophical tack our conversation took later
in the evening. Thank you for taking an interest in the New Millennium
Ride and for the very kind hospitality you shared with me. I look
forward to our next meeting; and, I know Hollie joins me when I say, I
hope we may host you in our home someday.
Tocher Mitchell, thank you for welcoming me to UB's Hash House Harriers.
Mongolia is a perfect place for Hashes - I know that the weekly meet will
be an integral part of my return trip(s) to Ulannbaatar. Thank you
also for acting as courier, carrying miscellaneous items back to Boston
for me. You will be glad to know, everything arrived safely.
Tung mae wa rau poapgan my, caw hi kun chokdee.
Finally, Niel Isbrandtsen, thank you for insisting that I delay
my departure from UB. I wouldn’t trade getting to know you for all
the miles I could have had on the road – those miles will be mine anyway!
Thank you for inviting me into your world, giving me the pleasure of some
hot showers, a large bed to sleep on, a computer to pluck away on, a washing
machine and all the comforts of “civilization,” and great conversations
over cups of coffee and burnt popcorn. We have walked the same roads
– it seems strange that our paths never crossed before; one thing is certain,
we will walk together again. Thanks for your incredibly friendly
hospitality, for opening your home to me and insisting I relax as if it
were my space. Thank you also for a wonderful final supper – though
I choose not to think of it that way; I hope we may walk and break bread
together again soon. Stay well friend. Thank you.