1–the cow crossed first

1–the cow crossed first

Our first river crossing in Mongolia was pretty tense…I couldn’t believe we were going to attempt it—the water looked pretty high to me. But the lead car made it first, followed by the second one. Finally it was the van’s turn, and it almost made it…until the engine died. Was it flooded with water? How were we going to move it to shore? No one else was around. No trucks or tractors to help us pull it.

At that moment, when I was concerned and puzzled, our fearless tour leader, George Archibald, yelled out, “Whiskered Tern, whiskered tern.” He had sighted a bird and wanted us all to grab our binoculars and relish its beauty. He was totally into the bird. He did not give the van and its passengers in the water a drop of attention.

Forget the binocs. I was worried about the van. The driver—who was also a terrific mechanic—kept cranking the starter, but the engine wouldn’t catch. Flooded? Not enough air? Under water? Start, start, start…crank, crank, crank. After about five minutes, it turned over and started. What a relief. Slowly the van inched its way to our bank…

Then I looked at George and asked him how he could be focusing on the tern, when our group was in such dire straits? “I can’t do anything about the engine, so I don’t fret about things I can’t fix. The mechanic was responsible for keeping the cars functioning…I had to let everyone know about the birds.”

Now that is what I call being smart. Not becoming anxious or ruffled by situations that are out of your control. George is a very rare bird himself!

2-then we forded the river

2-then we forded the river

3-next the other SUV began its crossing

3-next the other SUV began its crossing

4-don’t make any engine-flooding waves

4-don’t make any engine-flooding waves

5-finally the cook van followed

5-finally the cook van followed

6-and the engine died in midstream

6-and the engine died in midstream