On the border between Mongolia and China, I waited, staring at the Gobi & the cigarette cartons under my arm.

September 22nd, 2015, 10am

I am here because I am an illegal employee in the People’s Republic of China.The idea was to work on the tourist visa while my employer sorted out the paper work for my legal work visa. In the meantime, I had to cross an international border every 60 days. The closest border, Erenhot. I spent my morning negotiating the skepticism of various border guards to allow me in, and promptly back out of, Mongolia. As I found my driver he thrust two cartons of cigarettes under my arm. He had bought many boxes of them in the duty-free store and was keen to sell them in Erenhot for a profit. I stared at the flat sandy horizon, punctuated by clusters of long grass and I wished I could see this country more properly. I was standing in a vast steppe which stretched from my two feet across Asia and into Eastern Europe. Their was an alien beauty to the landscape. It felt like the beating heart of the Asian land mass. Perhaps I will come back one day and enjoy Mongolia for its open skies instead of its duty-free cigarettes.

Mubanga, Michelle, Sam and Josh said thanks.

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Aaron Mackey

Always enjoyed looking at maps and thinking about the places on them. So, I majored in Geography then set off to travel. Currently living/working in China.

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