Half-way into my third day in the Gobi Desert, we had a scheduled stop in a small town where we planned to have lunch at a local cafe. Soyoloo has been taking his clients to this cafe for years and he said that the food was delicious. 5 hours into our drive I was looking forward to a leg stretch and some good food.
Just as soon as we parked, the local policeman drove up and approached us. He motioned that we needed to put on masks; he seemed quite worried that we would give him the swine flu. Soyoloo asked me to put my camera away as he was afraid that the policeman would not want his photo taken. The policeman ordered that we put on our surgical masks. The problem was that we didn’t have any masks. Simya offered to go to the store to buy some but the policeman then abruptly ordered us to leave town. It really seemed that he was afraid that we would infect the town with H1N1. In order to “stealthily” take his photo, I set my camera up and took a timed photo of myself while Soyoloo and the policeman argued a bit about our fate in the small town.
As the policeman ordered us out of town, I took a photo of the local school and a little K9 pal that came to ask for a snack. The dog was the only one in town who wasn’t afraid of the Swine Flu scare.
While shooting the dog & school, I managed to work my way around to the vehicle and took a photo of the poliecman who banished us. After he departed, Soyoloo gave me the bad news; we were kicked out of town and had to leave immediately. Soyoloo asked him if we could at least buy some food in the local market. We were told we had 15 minutes and then we had to leave. We picked up some noodles and dessert and quickly left town.
A few miles outside of town we set our truck upwind and made camp for lunch. Using our propane stove we boiled some water for our noodles and made the best of the situation. While Soyoloo was cooking, I enjoyed the natural desert landscape and found it to be peaceful and beautiful.
Lunch was nice and we had some good laughs. Once we got back on the road we passed another pack of camels. It is amazing that in such a dry and inhospitable place that there is so much life.
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