Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Drunk Men

Among strangers here, it seems little kids and men who are drunk are most interested in me. Last night on the way home from a friend's house (who is Mongolian and wasn't drunk) I sat down in the taxi and an unusual thing happened. The man next to me thrust his hand toward mand started warmly talking to me. I hesitated to take his hand when I heard his words were heavily slurred and the breath that carried them smelled strong enough to peel paint.

Our converstation was short and loud. My personal particulars were revealed to the driver and other passengers. My discomfort with this faded and I realized that my unique life experiences in college and working in restaurants should help me deal with men like Bat. That was his name. They say 1/3 of Mongolians are Alcoholic. During the day, it doesn't seem so, but when night falls, it's sad to see men in pairs staggering along the road trying to hold each other up. God bless Bat. With his inhibitions dulled his English flowed, and he gave me his warmest handshake, twice. It's a comfort that with inhibitions gone, I don't receive hostility and fists.

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