Brendan of the Step...
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Brendan of the Steppes

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G'day all..

Thought I'd throw this one up, but there's a bit of a story behind it.  In 2019 my wife and 1 went on a trip to Mongolia and travelled around the country for about 10 days.  We were with a tour group we go away with now and again.  We had 5 4WD vehicles in which we travelled and each vehicle had to develop a skit for the final night's dinner.  I wrote this poem, (and I'm sure you'll recognise the style), and read it out at the dinner.

As an aside, we then went on the Trans Siberian railway through Russia to St Petersburg with a number of stops along the way.  Jude and I left the tour there and went to Ireland for 2 weeks and then London for 4 days.  Huge adventure and can't see it happening again after Covid. I imagine travel will once again become the domain of the well heeled. 


Brendan of the Steppes

He had written them an email as it’s so much quicker than snail
To addresses he had kept on file since many years ago
And some of them responded, but some they had absconded
And a band was formed to travel to Mongolia to avoid our winter snow

So they gathered for the plane, their cases packed again
And at various times and in different groups they took unto the skies
For it takes a long time flying, cramped seats and noise that’s trying
With layovers waiting for the next plane and hoping it will fly

Then with bleary eyes half closed, they barely even dozed
Through the hours of noisy engines ringing constant in their ears
As through customs bags a dragging, and with women still a nagging
They finally board the transfer bus and utter silent cheers

Some rest and better feelings lead to shopping and sightseeing
On the days before they board the cars and to the steppes they head
Seven cars, a traveling caravan, seeing everything, well that’s the plan
There’ll be many k’s beneath us before it’s time for tea and bed.

The first night is bright and hearty because Jenny called a party
At her gur below the monastery where the Baileys it did flow
But it had been a very long day, and we wore out before much play
And one by one to our own gurs the party it did go.

Travel can be trying, it involves a lot of driving
With the ever present threat of illness hovering like a pall
And as we travelled across the grasses a few had runny arses
And an urgent stop for business could easily be the call

But Naddam it did beckon, just a day away we reckon
Where we would see the wrestling and archery by people big and small
With two year old horses running, ridden by two year olds with cunning
To find the pair of champions who would beat them one and all.

Then at last a chance to visit an hotel brand new, exquisite
That seemed to have opened at least a month before it’s time
Though the beds were quite inviting, bare wires hung for lighting
And dinner, when you got some, meant standing in a one k line

Well at least the bar was open, though the staff had trouble coping
And the beer it was warm and the choice was very small
The red wine price made you choke, at 190,000 would send you broke
And it turned out that there wasn’t any white wine there at all

Our next day we arrived round noon, our last gur camp among the dunes
Cherie finally rode a horse and several rode a camel
But lunch turned quite eventful with Jude’s attack by lentil
At least there was no evac as the tablets worked quite well.

Then a wander round the mountain, well the rocks you couldn’t count them
And many a shot was taken with a photographic lens
On returning there was a cheer for we found they had cold beer
So we settled down to have one while Trish wandered round the Men’s

There’s really nothing worse than for a man to speak a curse
But it happened when Brenden mentioned there hadn’t been a flat
For on the way back car 3 hit a nail on the track
So while they changed the tyre the rest of us just sat

And so back to Ulanbataar, bags packed and in our car
We’ll see another Nadaam while waiting for the train
Thanks to Ghana and Anu who showed us many things anew
No doubt we would all love the chance to do it all again

Ric Raftis - 2019

Posted : 28/11/2020 2:41 pm
Harry Harper
Posts: 24

Gidday Ric. 

                    Wow, that was one bitter-sweet adventure, and I'm sure it will never be forgotten. A great story and write, Ric, thanks for sharing. Nice to see the first poem posted on the new site, I’ll have to see what I can come up with. 

Cheers Ric, 


Posted : 26/11/2020 4:25 pm
Ric Raftis reacted