Friday, October 10, 2014

Jojo's Roadside Cafe

In spite of the grasslands teeming with wildlife, getting bored on a roadtrip - particularly in Mongolia's Kansas - is inevitable.  On our way back from Swan Lake, Enkhaa pulled over and declared we were taking a break.  It is possible Engrish and I need to better explain what Western women need when it comes to answering the call of nature, because we had to walk about five minutes to get far enough away from him and each other to do our business.  That's how flat and bare the land was there.  After taking care of business and eating the last of our sausage and cheese, Enkhaa scattered the crumbs of our now-fragile Khentii bread on the ground, and told us he was marking the spot because Engrish was going to come back and open up a restaurant.  This led to us spending the next fifteen minutes coming up with a business plan for Jojo's Roadside Cafe.
Concept sketch by yours truly, inspired by Rukia Kuchiki
1. She will specialize in chocolate chip cookies.
2. She will sell the Sukhbaatar aimag vodka, in its collectable swan-decorated bottle because she knows her target market.
3. She will get a big ger dog to protect her from her target market.
4. I will purchase some chocolate molds in the shape of swans so she can sell swan chocolates.
5. I'll carve something out of the local volcanic rock...perhaps balbals, so we don't wear out the whole swan theme.
6. She will discount the cookies that get left over - day old, week old...month old...
7. Forget about chocolate chip cookies - we'll make swan-shaped decorated sugar cookies, and after they pass the month-old mark we'll market them as Christmas ornaments.  PURE GENIUS!
Of course, this begs the question of what she'll do for the rest of the year, since the swan migration only takes place in October.  There are only so many times you can bench-press boulders before it gets old.  It's possible that she would just keep the cafe open during the migration and focus on her travel agency - the Jojo and Enkhaa Express - the rest of the year.  As their inaugural customer, here's the review that I can't post on TripAdvisor due to the fact that she's a friend:

The Jojo and Enkhaa Express
I contacted this agency to organize my trip to Sukhbaatar aimag at the beginning of October.  My guide spoke excellent English in spite of the fact that she's Canadian - there was hardly a single sentence that she bastardized into a question by adding, "Eh?" on the end.  She was prepared for every eventuality, and had brought her own bevy of swans* in case the lake was empty.  Enkhaa's Land Cruiser was not exactly the car I was expecting, but since it was white it provided great camouflage and probably let us pass flying swans without them even being aware of our existence.  There was never a dull moment with Enkhaa's exciting driving, and he kept the mood in the car jovial with his witty banter.  On the way back to Ulaanbaatar I protested that I couldn't wait another 2 hours for lunch, and he took us to the best roadside khushuur stand and the mutton wasn't even a little muttony!

Lots of other things happened too.  Engrish is surprised I haven't told you about them yet.  Don't worry, Engrish...I still have at least one blog in me.....

*read: Rubber Duckies.  They weren't painted white, but Engrish and I both have vivid imaginations.  And - now that I'm back in UB - paint.

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