Several weeks ago I experienced a reversal of roles.
From foreigner to Mongolian.
For an hour it was not a Mongolian giving a group of foreigners a tour but a foreigner giving a group of Mongolians a tour.
It was a tour of the shower house
And the tour guide was me.
Seeing how it’s been one of my weekly highlights for the past three plus years, I am a little bit of a shower house expert- at least, as I was about to find out, compared to some.
Besides the obvious part of the actual taking of the shower, sometimes I also walk away with a something extra.
An enjoyable political discussion about Mongolia in Mongolian with the shower house owner
Discussions over what is and isn’t a cult (also in Mongolian)
A free popsicle from the owner’s daughter
But I never expected to be a shower house tour guide.
One day after camp this summer we were short on time before dinner with the team.
There wasn’t enough time for everyone to go home so we went straight to the community center.
With time to spare everyone was thrilled at the idea of a shower after a long week of camp.
What I didn’t know, was that no one else had never been to a shower house!
After leading about them through the maze of dirt roads to the house I soon found out.
And the questions started..
What do I do?
Where do I get soap?
What about shampoo?
Does anyone have a towel?
How much does it cost?
Is there a comb I can use?
What about a hair dryer?
How do I close the door?
(And these were all questions coming from guys!)
The shower lady kindly went to the store and got all the necessary items.
In their confusion I took advantage of the situation and headed towards an empty room
Happy that at least I knew how to take a shower!
My personal highlight was when one of the guys tried to take someone else’s clean laundry for his own personal towel.
Because the shower house doubles as a laundry service other people’s clothes were hanging out to dry and so one of the guys picked out a towel from the rack and innocently asked if he could take it. The shower house lady kindly explained that it was someone else’s personal towel and no he could not just take it.
Somehow someway everyone got their shower without much further chaos.
It was a pretty funny situation and even the shower lady was amused.
“I didn’t realize they were Mongolians! I thought they were Hong Kong people!” she remarked as we left.
And that was the afternoon that the foreigner played tour guide.
The next time I went she told me that when she sees me she doesn’t see a foreigner. She told me that because we speak in Mongolian she feels close to me and sees me just like a Mongolian.
And that made my day.