Mongolian madness endured for a wild 21st birthday celebration

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN


Ali Rybczyk


BILLY SNYGG, Channels Staff

I was sitting in a bunk bed on a train racing towards Russia with my friends, thinking back and trying to get clarification about the last couples of days.

I had been through a lot of crazy stuff during my six month trip through Asia, but celebrating my 21st birthday in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, takes the first place with no doubt.

In a grey, small and crowded hostel kitchen, my buddy Simon and I cooked up my birthday-meal, drank wine, and sang along with our favorite Swedish artist Eldkvarn, having no idea what the night would bring us.

In retrospect, that night brought us a ton of experience and fun memories, but at that time, it was hell.

The hell I’m talking about is when you get yourself into something stupid and it’s all out of your hands.

On April 29, I woke up in my uncomfortable, tiny bed, and rolled on to the floor with a big crash. As the unforgivable hangover hits me I’m realizing that I’m leaving Mongolia for Russia in less than 24 hours, and my passport is at the Mongolian Police Station.

It wasn’t there for renewal; it was in their custody because of the previous night. I have no idea if, when, or how I was going to get it back.

The panic that should have been hitting me was smothered by the construction workers banging inside my head, telling me, “Billy, this is what you get if you drink to much.”

In my underwear I crawled my way through dust, empty beer-cans, stinky clothes and when I reach my friend Simon’s bed I finally fell asleep. Lucky for us, I wasn’t in ‘stealth mode’ so Simon happened to be wide-awake.

As a good friend should do, he grabs the closest thing he finds, and hits my head with it in an attempt to get my attention. It worked. It was a can— with beer in it.

After that crude awakening, we stared at each other, and simultaneously we yawned out “you look like shit.”

With that said, we put on yesterdays clothes with not a single care in the world and headed out. Apparently Simon knew where the Police Station was located, his memory being a bit clearer than mine.

On our rickety road to the station we tripped on ourselves three times each, and tried to discuss last nights affairs, but we couldn’t gather up the power to make any kind of understandable sentences.

As we arrived at the grey and depressing Police Station we got an unexpected welcome from the officers, followed by suppressed giggling. What had we done last night?

After a trip down memory lane in the waiting room, and a little help from the officers and their surveillance camera, we finally got all the pieces together.

After food and (a few) too many drinks at the hostel, we had somehow found our way into an ‘after-party’ for delegates from a diplomatic meeting. As the two white handsome dudes we are, they assumed we belonged there, so we brought my birthday celebration to a new location.

We partied until closing with random diplomats in a dark, shady club-looking restaurant, and at that moment, I blacked out.

According to Simon I was stumbling like a newborn, and got in a dumb argument with one of the waiters after I broke some glasses on my way out.

Like a boss I solved the problem with a typical “drunk-run”, and when Simon caught up, we decided to take a leak before we went home.

We never made it home.

We ended up getting both mugged and arrested, but with several interrogations, and a bit of luck, we hit a home run. All charges were dropped, the muggers were arrested, and we got our passports back in time.

With that said, I’m not saying you shouldn’t party or make mistakes, because you will.

We’re in college and that’s what we do.

Even though it may sound cliché, you should learn from your mistakes and grow as an individual. I have lived by this, and consider myself very lucky for the experiences in my life.

I don’t know what would have happened if I had gotten seriously hurt or even killed that night.

Or worse…lost my passport.