Friday, April 28, 2006

Another Asmund Adventure

The high-altitude desert and the marmots on the ride across the Tibetan Plateau, and of course the empty tin of fried dace at the end of it, got me thinking about - Asmund, of course - who else?

And, in particular, about an adventure Asmund had when he was riding across the Gobi desert a couple of years ago.

Being a hygiene-conscious, Norwegian sort of whale-killer, he wandered a hundred yards or metres or whatever it is they have up there away from his tent one night to answer a call of nature.

Tinkling over, he wandered a hundred yards or metres back to where he thought his tent was, only it wasn't. Tent, bike, stuff, all spirited away in the middle of a dark Gobi night. Had the Mongolian Horseman struck again?

No, Asmund had lost his sense of direction, mid-piddle. And spent the rest of the night curled up in the sand, marmots nibbling at his earlobes, knock knock knocking on a very cold Gobiesque death's door.

Next morning, the sun came up, and there was his tent, bike, and stuff, just over there - the other way.

To avoid a similar fate (likely to prove fatal in a Tibetan Plateau context), I have installed a sophisticated system of plastic tubing.


  1. Ed!

    All the embarasing stories you remember!
    You took two stories and rolled them into one.

    I did "lose" my tent and all in a forest in Siberia. I had gone for a small exploration trip just at dusk. When I came back it was all "gone". I walked and walked and wondered where it could be. It was dark and I had no flashlight with me. Just when I tried to figure out how many Siberian moskitoes would be needed to steel a litre of blood from me,I found my tent.

    Two months later I came to Sainsand in the Gobi desert at dusk. When I left town it was dark. I had entered town from the south on bike in 98 and 02 so I should know my way around even in the dark. But I took the wrong fork and the next day I just kept on going knowing it was slightly wrong direction. The track going towards the south never came so I had to make my own track using the compass to find my way to another track. Very late at night I could see the distant lights of the next village. I was "safe" so I stopped.

    I looked for a nice plase to put my sleepingbag down for a few hours when I suddenly realised I had "lost" everything. Again.
    In Siberia I was only tired but this time I was dehydrated as well. So my brain did not work too well. The desert was flat and I had a flashlight and there were reflectors on my bike so I just didn`t understand why I could not see it. I was close to collapsing so in the end I lay down on the stones to get some sleep. When it got too cold I just walked around in the desert aimlessly looking for signs of prehistoric man. Flintstones come out nice and shiny in the flashlight. I did find a heavy piece of a broken axe or chisel or whatever it had been. So some thousands of years before me someone was out chopping firwood or whatever when the tool broke.

    At daybreake I could see a small hill and on the other side of it my bike with my last drops of water.
    The area looks like the picture on your homepage. Stony desert. No tree in sight. The tool,illegal to take out of Mongolia,I left in a little sacred pile of stones.
    I hope it didn`t make it less sacred.


  2. With all those stone tools, you remind me of the German motorbiker I met in Siberia, who had come across the Gobi as part of an organised expedition.

    "In ze Gobi," he said, "zere is nothing but sand. But our expedition had a vater filter, so ve vere OK."

    The Germans are smart engineers, I know, but to make water out of sand using just a filter? Moses would be impressed.