2007 Journey:
Africa, Russia, Mongolia and China

  • One Sleepless Night and Two Drunken Mongolians Later

    “John Lennon, yesterday.”

    “Yesterday, all my troubles seem so far away,” sings a drunk Mongolian named Coach Bol.

    Bol was the head coach for the Mongolian hockey team, and was accompanying his star player, Murgus, back to Mongolia.

    In a shouting rough tone of voice, Coach Bol’s rambling conversation would go like this: “Chicago, (pause), Blackhawks.”


    “John Lennon, yesterday.”

    “Sorry, sorry.”

    “I love you.”

    “Woman, banana.”


    “Sorry, sorry.”

    “No. 1 player, Mongolia.”

    “Sorry, sorry.”

    “I love you.”


    Mongolian train stationFor the first five hours it was entertaining, until it went too far. My subtle hints that I was going to sleep didn’t work. When I made attempts to cover my body with a blanket as if I was going to sleep, Coach Bol would stumble over and plop down on top of my body, and begin the same conversation.

    The drunken star player kept moving from bunk to bunk.

    At one point his legs and feet are draped across my bunk, and his head and trunk lay in the bunk across the way.

    When I suggested it was time for sleep, Coach insisted it was time to drink.

    After six hours of drinking Coach Bol started pointing his finger at me, and then drew it across his neck while saying the word “Mongol” as if telling me he was going to slit my throat in Mongolia.

    My French traveling companion had left a few hours earlier unable to deal with the threats.

    Now I had come to the same conclusion.

    It’s time to leave.

    In the middle of the night I stood alone in the walkway of the train car staring out the window. My sleeping compartment reeked with spilled beer and vodka.

    The Russian train attendant came by and made hand motions for me to go to bed. In the same type of hand language, I responded that I was not going back in there and that the man was crazy, drunk and wanted to fight.

    She walked away, leaving me standing in the hallway.

    My French friend Gildas poked his head out of the safe haven he escaped to and said, “Come in here. We have room. I’ll sleep on the floor.”

    Suddenly Coach Bol came out, stood next to me and made the same symbolic hand motion across his neck.

    I asked myself, “Jeesh, how did I get myself bunked up with Genghis Khan?”

    Twenty minutes passed as the coach made evil drunk stares. Suddenly from out of nowhere, four Russian policemen showed up.

    “Passports!” shouted one of the officers, as he tapped his nightstick in the palm of his hand.

    For two hours the coach and star player stumbled around the room as they tore through bags trying to find the misplaced documents.

    At one point Coach asked me if I had their passports.

    I shook my head no.

    The train attendant tapped me on the shoulder and instructed me to follower her. I took the opportunity to grab my belongings and escaped to a safe haven to grab a few hours of sleep.

    As I walked to my new sleeping quarters, the Frenchman posed the question, “Do you think they have called ahead to have their friends kill us when we arrive?”


    They were too drunk to even dial a phone.

    The next morning I saw Coach Bol and his star player carrying their bags to get off the train.

    Both were sober.

    He smiled, as I asked to have my photo taken with them.

    He waved goodbye as they stepped off the train.

    “Sorry, sorry.”

    “Mongolia, No. 1.”

    Fremont Tribune

Copyright © Dean Jacobs 2019. All Rights Reserved.