One: a razor. Especially if you have shaved your lady bikini line before heading out on a five week trans Mongolian adventure.
We arrived in Ulaanbaatar after a long, a very long trip from Moscow. I think it was 78 hours on a train.
After a night of washing in delectable hot showers and eating food that was not rehydrated we were up bright and early and piled into a shit box of a car heading to the steppe.
My two oldest friends and I hired some horses and a guide and rode off into the vast nothingness for three days.
It was amazing, it was huge, it was life changing, I did not take a crap for the entire time. I am not sure how, medically it was even possible, but when faced with an icy wind and not a tree in sight I just managed to hold it.
There was poop on this trip, we used it for fuel. At night we played a game called ‘rock or poo’. Basically it involved walking around in the dark collecting horse shit to burn on the fire.
“Rock or poo?”
“Poo.” And then we made fire.
Anyway, apart from the retention of three day’s worth or organic material making me slightly uncomfortable, I was begining to realise why nomadic women don’t bother waxing.
Four days in a wooden sadle without a shower and I was beginning to get, let’s say, a little itchy. By the time we got back to Ulaanbaatar all I could think about locating was a 7Eleven and a god damn daisy shaver. A bit of good exfoliation was not going to go astray either.
With a John Waynesque walk I was ‘desperately seeking shaving’. I did find a pink plastic little number to return my nether regions to a state of grace. ‘Onwards and upwards’ I said and we treated ourselves to a bit of posh nosh in a fancy restaurant. They served horse.
I opted for the mutton dumplings, like the ones we’d eated on the train platforms, handed over in dirty cupped hands by cardboard-faced ladies. They left a lasting impression, but not in a good way. A 4am dash to the communal bathroom and there’s that moment when you think “what end to I put on first?” I still can not eat dumplings.
I boarded the train the next day, very shaky, a little hagged and somewhat woebegone.
Two: other travel stuff and don’t forget that razor.