Pamela MacNaughtan

I just finished traveling with sadists. Poor Rachel. She looks like she’s in so much pain. Actually, she’ll be the first one to tell you that she is in a lot of pain!

One of the downsides to taking a tour in Mongolia is that your guide and driver have learned most of their English and behaviors from other tourists. Although it can be humorous at times, it can also big a giant pain, literally! Our driver, Togo, didn’t speak English. I think he understood the words yes, no and please. But I think he chose to ignore the word ‘no’.

Traveling with Togo, was like watching my brothers as little boys. I remember us watching Karate Kid when it first came out. My brother, Greg, fell in love with that whole crane like a kick. You know the one where you start on one foot, raise both arms and then quickly change feet and kick -okay, I don’t know karate. If you know the actual name, please share! Anyway! I remember sitting back and watching Greg use this kick on my youngest brother, Mike. Poor kid. I swear, they attacked each other over and over again, even when the novelty had worn off. This is exactly how Togo treated us.

Mongolians love to wrestle. I think in the past, Togo has had some pretty intense, fun wrestling encounters with tourists, so when nightfall came and we were in our Ger, he was poised and ready to go. Unfortunately, nobody wanted to actually wrestle. So he did what was the next best thing. He attacked you where you were sitting and wouldn’t stop until way after you had called for mercy. Knees were bruised and battered, arms were bent the wrong way and one poor guy had every part of his body squeezed. Yes, every part, even down there!

It got to the point where we would run the other way when Togo showed up. He would laugh, after all, he was having a great time! We would beg for him to not hurt us. By the end of the tour, nobody was ever alone with Togo. After all, if there are two of you, you can fight back better, right?

Our guide, on the other hand, was fairly calm -when she wasn’t provoking Togo and then expecting us to rescue her! She was also a pathological liar. Within a few minutes of leaving Ulaanbaatar, we learned that you couldn’t really trust anything she said. To her, it was hilarious, to us, not so much. It’s hard to figure out facts from fiction when your guide is always lying to you. When she wasn’t lying, she was nagging. My own Mother didn’t nag me this much when I was growing up!

Guide: “You have a sleeping bag and extra blankets, don’t be selfish, use them.”

Me: “Sweetie, I am x years old, I know when I am cold and when I am not, I can take care of myself. Thanks”.

Sure, I was under-dressed, but that’s my own fault. Besides, the Ger was super hot at night! Due to my yoga wear, I spent most of my time arguing with her over whether it was too cold to do certain things. The fact that Canada can be just as cold as Mongolia, didn’t register with her -although I tried to drill that into her several times.

Despite having a driver and guide who were sadists, I still managed to enjoy my tour of the countryside. I’m hoping to return to Mongolia in the summer and give it another go when the weather is better, and I can explore more of the country. I’m dying to explore the Gobi Desert on a Camel and canter through the grasslands on horseback.

The only things I dread are having the same guide and driver and dealing with the Mongolian diet, which is very meaty, fatty and heavy on your system.


  • December 7, 2010

    That driver sounds crazy! I’m sorry she was nagging you so much- she kind of sounds like our tour guide in Australia. He was trying to be helpful, but at a certain point I just wanted to scream- “I got it!, Thanks!!” It does sound pretty sound in the summer!

  • December 7, 2010

    OMG what a crazy guy!!!!!!! But well I guess he makes for funny travel stories now? That poor girl’s face in the pic!

  • December 8, 2010

    The first time I’d be upset – the second time, he’d be crawling away, not wanting a third beat-down. LOL

  • December 12, 2010

    Hope you do give it another go in the summer time. I look forward to reading more about your escapades there.

    stay adventurous, Craig

  • Faraz

    December 14, 2010

    That man sounds insane! Well, perhaps next time you’ll have a more affable guide and driver. If you’re taking Bactrian camels, you may well find that, like humans, they too have quite differing personalities — let’s just hope you don’t get the wrestler!


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