The first Mongolian people we met were a family of four. We shared a jeep car in Erenhot, China to Zamiin Uud, Mongolia. The father is fat, looking much more masculine than Chinese men in the south where I live. I thought him to be aggressive. On the contrary, the mother was short and skinny. They have two lovely sons, one being around 6 years old and the other being around 12 years old.
After passing the Mongolia immigration, I went to withdraw some cash from an ATM. Unfortunately my bank card was swallowed for no reason. Something unexpected happened when I just landed on an unfamiliar land for a few minutes. I hadn’t even got time to adjust myself to the surroundings. I could ask no one for help except for the family. I tried to tell them what had happened. The mother immediately appeared to be very worried and took me to some offices, trying to find people in charge to solve the problem. I understood nothing, just following the mother and her elder son, who came along to help because he could speak a bit of English. However, we couldn’t find anyone in the offices. They walked very fast while I kept asking what’s going on behind them. After a few attempts, they told me I needed to wait for the bank to open until 12:00 because it was Sunday that day.
The mother was apparently more tense than I was. Her eyes brightened when one bank teller finally came. She explained to him what had happened and I got the reply that I could get my bank card back in 20 minutes. Shortly after 10 minutes, a lady with key to the ATM came and took out my bank card. I was amazed by their high efficiency. In China if people say 20 minutes, they probably will show up after one hour.
We felt sorry for holding them up for such a long time. JD offered to treat them lunch but they declined. They even helped us to buy train tickets from Zamiin Uud to Ulaanbaatar and kept reminding us of the departure time for the fear that we would miss our train.
I felt a bit ashamed because the moment the family got in the jeep car, we complained that the jeep was too crowded and the driver shouldn’t have taken in too many people. Without them, I would’ve been screwed.
The beginning of Mongolian trip was not so pleasant, but I’m happy to have met nice people in the first few hours.