How to Improvise a Bowling Alley in Western Mongolia

The conditions we live in in Mongolia are conducive to several things: one, never being surprised by anything, ever; two, strategic avoidance of whatever cow, goat, sheep, horse, yak, or dog is currently blocking the road; and three, improvisation. Mongolia is nothing if not excellent training for your improvisational skills, and when you’re about to turn 27 and realize such an occasion dictates that one goes bowling, prepare to take a bowling alley where no bowling alley has ever gone before.

Step 1: Collect ten (10) beer bottles. Emptied by other people, of course, because you’re the only moron who spent three (3) years in Germany and managed to come out still hating beer.
Step 2: Fill up said beer bottles with two (2) inches of water. Place outside for thirty (30) minutes to freeze.

Step 3: Take your frozen beer bottles and head to the river!
Step 4: Collect everyone you love who is within reasonable distance.
Step 5: Set up your pins and your lane.
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Step 6: Collect four (4) rocks. Two light ones (that shall thereafter be referred to as “the pink ball” and “the light blue ball”) and two heavy ones (thereafter “the death ball” and “the fire ball”).

Step 7a: And when it turns out that rocks + frozen river = things don’t roll, commence chucking the bowling balls at the pins.

Step 8: When you stop being being able to see the pins, retire to your apartment and have a party. Eat cake decorated by people who think they’re HILARIOUS.

My birthday, as it turned out, coincided with a Peace Corps training thingy, which meant a whole bunch of people I really like but haven’t seen in a while, were in Khovd–so double awesome. At one point there were over twenty people in my little apartment, and it was awesome and the best birthday I could have imagined for Western Mongolia

Yay, birthdays! And now I’m 27!

Please someone give me a job.


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