Tuesday, April 14, 2009

24 I am not Russian


THE MONGOLIAN GIRL - CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR


The three of them stood huddled together on the frozen snow illuminated by orange light from the hotel doorway. Sarantuya looked up at Tom, then turned and spoke to the man in the black trilby hat. He held out his hands as he started to interpret her words:


"She says she telephoned the hotel. The receptionist assured her that she would pass the message on to you. There was a special performance for a group of visiting Soviet officials. She had to work or she would have lost her job. She was so disappointed when you didn't call again, and thought that you must be angry with her."


There were shouts from across the square as Tom blurted out, "Oh, Sarantuya, I'm so sorry."


She saw compassion in his eyes, heard her name and then jumped as a rifle was fired behind her. They spun round and looked across the road at the demonstration. One of the soldiers was standing on the plinth of the statue of Lenin, holding his Kalashnikov aloft. Tom looked to see if anyone was hurt. Then he saw the soldier take aim and fire again over the heads of the crowd.


The man spoke again in English, "I must rejoin my friends. They need me. Stay here and look after Sarantuya. See that she gets home safely."


"Yes, of course. But, who are you? What is your name? I want to thank you."


The man had already started to stride across the road, but shouted back, "My name is Boshigt."


Tom and Sarantuya watched him run through the line of soldiers and disappear into the crowd. There was shouting and then suddenly the demonstrators ran in all directions and scattered across the square, disappearing down the dark side streets. The soldiers shouldered their rifles, climbed back into the truck and drove away down Peace Avenue.


Tom pointed to the hotel entrance, but Sarantuya nodded her head. He was panic-stricken. Oh God, she hasn't misunderstood me, has she? He wanted to say, no I didn't mean that, but he just didn't have the words.


She smiled and pointed down the street: "Minee ger."


Tom smiled back. He understood. She was saying, "My home."


As they walked away from the hotel, past the big yellow building of the Palace of Arts and Culture, Sarantuya slid her hand inside Tom's arm and they continued arm-in-arm. Three Mongolian youths in big padded jackets and woollen hats walked towards them. They looked annoyed and one of then said something to Sarantuya. Tom guessed what it might be and glared at the youth. Sarantuya tugged at his arm and they walked away. He had not seen a mixed race couple in his time in Mongolia. In the 1940s and 1950s there had been some marriages between Mongolians and Russians, so there were a few Eurasians like Olga Shevchenko. But now, in the changing political climate, these were frowned upon. Olof had warned him about this. Increasingly, Russians were being attacked and beaten up in the streets. For this reason one of the first Mongolian phrases that Tom learned was "Be Orus bish (I am not Russian)." But to a Mongolian he looked Russian.


They reached a bus stop and joined the end of the queue. As they stood in line, Tom desperately sought the words he needed to arrange to see her again. Two old ladies in front of them, carrying loaves of bread wrapped in brown paper, turned and gave them icy stares, then edged forward. The bus was approaching.


To be contd.


NEXT CHAPTER


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11 comments:

  1. This sounds like it is a great story. Can't wait for the second chapter.

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  2. I forgot this blog was a story> I have to make myself read it from the beginning but I enjoy cheating.

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  3. Wow you are a very interesting guy living a very interesting life. I am shooting for under 3:30 in the upcoming marathon. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

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  4. I must come back and read it agaim clearly.

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  5. i want them to be together

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  6. HELLO IAN , I AM A LITTLE CURIOUS ABOUT THE CAREER THAT TAKES YOU TO 20 COUNTRIES IN 12 MONTHS .. PLEASE ENLIGHTEN ME ... HOPE YOU ARE NOT MI6

    P.S I USED TO LIVE IN SALALAH .. NEAR AUKAD R/A

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  7. Ajay, I left my job in Bucharest(which wasn't with MI6), just over a year ago. I then spent one month travelling in Eastern Europe followed by a six month overland trip around Latin America.

    If somebody was working for the SIS, he wouldn't have time to visit that many countries!

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  8. I enjoyed to read that. Can't wait either for the second chapter.

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  9. Hi, sorry I read your comment just now. I still havent figured out how to receive notficiation when there's a comment :(

    Thanks for checking out my blog. I am flattered. I've been studying English in Ulan-bator. I am pretty busy at the moment, but i'll take time to read my favorite story and keep commenting. :)

    Good luck!

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  10. Great to see you here again, Natso. I have missed you. Please join me on Facebook where I have a lot of Mongolian friends.

    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1101735681&ref=name

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