Travel & Adventure
Featuring stories by writers Eric Karl Anderson, Mara Sonnenschein, Ron Riekki, Suzanne Russo, and Kara Moskowitz; and performances from actors Matt Alford, Heather Lee Rogers, Seth James, Josephine Cashman, and Michaela Morton. Hosted by Andrew Lloyd-Jones at KGB Bar on 2nd April 2014.
People are rising from the earth. It’s as if someone has flipped a switch so that humans are suddenly weightless. Yet there still seems to be some relation between body mass and the speed with which the people ascend into the sky. Those that are thin shoot straight up like skinny rapidly-deflating balloons with looks of awkward panic on their faces and their arms flailing about trying to grasp at diaphanous clouds. The overweight have the benefit of floating upwards at a more languorous pace, sailing lazily up through the atmosphere, gazing in wonder at the chilly empty sky and watching in horror as the earth below them fades into a city of toys.
The van moved northeast out of Ulaan Baatar and the landscape quickly changed from the mid-rise Soviet-era apartment blocks, smoke stacks, and wide empty squares of the city, to the mix of Western-style homes and gers in the small developments just beyond, to the low green and brown hills that were the beginning of the Khentii. There was more land here than I had ever seen.
Nieve cascades around me, a trickle of it oozing down my cheek as I rush through the crowd of dancing, singing, powder-frosted revelers. I’m trying to keep Nena in my sight, but she is fast, on a mission. We’ve visited three shops with no luck. When Nena asks for (of all things) Heineken, the tiny men in the tiny bodegas invariably frown, apologize, and gesture to case after chilly case of chilled Salta and Quilmes beers, none able to offer the beer bottled an ocean away. I cannot understand the insistence on Heineken, but what do I know? The shoes I am wearing are not my own.
The waiters, in white djellabas, meandered through the rooftop crowd with trays of champagne flutes. The British guests took the champagne, paying no attention to the servers, continuing their conversations about being English in New York and isn’t Marrakech lovely and can you beat an October wedding under the moonlight. The Americans were sheepish, stopping their discussions to take the glasses and smile at the waiters apologetically. A few Brazilians grabbed the champagne as if it were a life source, similar to how they’d clapped when Gemma and Max, the bride and groom, had kissed during the ceremony. A lone Russian stood in the center of the group, chugging Cristal directly from a bottle.