Blogs from Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China, Asia - page 2

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Asia » China » Inner Mongolia » Hohhot September 11th 2010

Dick doesn't want a huge bowl of steaming lamb guts in brown goop for breakfast, nor does he feel inclined towards a cloven head with brains on show and half a tongue lolling , though many in Hohhot apparently do. He wants bao tzi, and zhou. In Beijing there are ten bao tzi in a little basket, each about the size of the circle you make with your thumb and forefinger. Here in Hohhot, there are eight in a portion, each about the size of you fist. And the Zhou is purple. Dick eats in a filthy little café surrounded by staring dead sheep and the innkeepers staring children. The merry restaurateur babbles gaily at Dick in a language he can not even recognize, let alone understand. Here in Inner Mongolia most people speak three or ... read more

Asia » China » Inner Mongolia » Hohhot August 21st 2010

Why China always surprises me Right now I am reading "The Member of the Wedding," courtesy of the care-package of books my Mom brought for me when she visited China. So far the book is exceedingly odd, but it's one of those books you can't put down. The protagonist desperately wants to be part of something, to be a member somewhere, in some club of life; to belong. I often have that longing too, as I am living abroad; perhaps it is a longing we always have in some degree, but being a foreigner obviously would heighten the feeling. Today I went out in the morning with the modest plan of some shopping and lunch with my friend Lulu. When we met at the mall downtown, she told me that her Dad had invited me to ... read more

Asia » China » Inner Mongolia » Hohhot August 8th 2010

China Trip 2010: Hohhot and Grassland We arrived in Huhehaote on the morning of the 19th, having flown in from Shanghai. First order of business: relax! It was the first time since Beijing that we didn't have to hail a cab at the airport; my working at a local hotel has some nice benefits (including free airport pick-up service for me and my parents!) The airport representative, a pal of mine, was cheerful and curious to see my parents. I got my parents settled into the hotel, a little bit nervous as many of my coworkers were looking on or helping with the luggage. It was interesting to hear their impressions of my family later. We were engaged that evening for a dinner with one of the managers in a hotel restaurant; I would hear from ... read more
Five Tower Temple Arbor
Five Tower Temple
Squash vines in arbor

Asia » China » Inner Mongolia » Hohhot July 20th 2010

Doing China "a la carte" Deciding where to go and what to do when my parents came to China was tough. We decided to visit three cities known for their historical treasures, and then to visit the grassland areas close to Huhehaote. In all, Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai, Huhehaote, and a day in the Wokuotai grassland east of the city, two and half hours by car. Mom and Dad are fearless travellers, who gave me invaluable experiences as a kid with summer trips and the like; but China, it is probably safe to say, is the farthest any of us has wandered afield, both geographically and culturally. Our meeting in Beijing, as documented in my previous entry, was a happy one. This was a journey four years in the making: in 2006, I began formal studies in ... read more
Man with basins, Xi'an
Wheel with ram skull and flags
Dragon Fountain, Bei Lin, Xi'an

Asia » China » Inner Mongolia » Hohhot July 18th 2010

A bit late, but here is my blog about the amazing Inner Mongolian grasslands, and am going to try to get some photos up too! So, we were really lucky to get on probably the least-touristy tour to the grasslands ever, as it was organised directly by our amazing hostel. I'd really wanted to go to the grasslands, but was a bit wary of the tours I'd seen advertised, as I wanted to share the grasslands with as few people as possible! As such I was really pleased when our driver turned up and just four of us got into the car - Megan, myself and two Americans. The driver was really sweet, and was Mongolian, so had quite a bit of knowledge about the area, despite the language barrier. We drove through some amazing scenery ... read more
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Asia » China » Inner Mongolia » Hohhot June 26th 2010

It's almost July and the hottest weather of the season is getting ready to hit Northern China. Already my office is filled with periodic exclamations of "好热!"("so hot!") uttered in a somewhat mournful tone. Here, "beating the heat" is called 消暑: 消 meaning "spend" or "pass," 暑 meaning "heat" and "midsummer." And now is the time to see the locals beating the heat; every time I walk out on errands, I pass old men playing Chinese chess under a tree on the sidewalk or shopowners sitting on their stoops with fans flapping lazily in their hands. Being from a subtropical town, I have to laugh when I'm outside and hear people complaining about the heat. I'm so used to blistering temperatures with stifling humidity that being outside in the dry heat feels good to me. But ... read more
Park lake
Bridge with pavilion in background
Through pine branches

Asia » China » Inner Mongolia » Hohhot June 19th 2010

Watching the World Cup (世界杯) in Xinhua Square Xinhua Square is a large park in downtown commercial Huhehaote. I knew that people went there to roller-blade and fly kites; what I didn't know was that, since the World Cup started, it has been a meeting place for large crowds to come watch the matches. How I ended up there tonight was pure chance. I had gotten up today to meet a friend (a student at a local university) for lunch and window-shopping. We ate at a small Korean-style restaurant (I ordered sizzling rice with egg and spicy sauce, my favorite Korean dish so far). After looking in several shops and finding a pair of men's cargo shorts that I liked (haha, did I mention women are tiny here?) we ran smack into one of my friend's ... read more
The Crowd
Wishing Lantern
Fountain in Xinhua Square

Asia » China » Inner Mongolia » Hohhot June 17th 2010

Not much going on...which is a good thing! The past two weeks brought the Table Tennis World Veterans Championship to Huhehaote. Our hotel was one of many suddenly occupied by hundreds of foreigners from Europe, South Africa and Australia. For me, this meant almost round-the-clock readiness to hear my phone ringing and pick up to the sound of the hotel operator saying, "Um...there's a foreign guest on the line, I can't really understand him...help?" I worked two weeks including weekends: the first weekend because the guests had just arrived and needed attention and help to get their bearings, and the second because the guests were leaving...and needed attention and help to get their bearings. Also, most of the managers worked the weekend in anticipation of the Dragon Boat Festival, which meant three days off from Monday ... read more
Cool colors at night
Interior of Pizza Hut
Crazy Overpass Decision

Asia » China » Inner Mongolia » Hohhot June 5th 2010

Pictures that show more of the vast spaces and livestock, and footage of horses we saw along the road. In the second video, the girl is saying "Xiao ma ma," which translates to something like "Little horsey!" ... read more
Yurt, Kitchen and Kite
I took this from inside the car...
Chinese Outhouse

Asia » China » Inner Mongolia » Hohhot May 30th 2010

Zhaohe grassland The grasslands and small villages near Hushi are somewhat notorious for being mainly tourist attractions; the road signs out there carry the famous slogan 天堂草原 - "Grassland Paradise," which seems to be partially an effort to influence visitors' perceptions: parts of the grassland were less than heavenly. But I find the following dialogue illuminating: As we sat in the yurt yesterday that was our sleeping-room, dining room and shelter from the fierce wind, my friend Lulu asked her father, "Dad, is this yurt real or fake?" - a question I had been having a hard time with myself. Lulu's dad just chuckled and asked philosophically, "What is a 'real' yurt? What is a 'fake' yurt?" So no, our yurt did not house a family that raised sheep and rode horses; but we were able ... read more
Main building with kite
Colorful doors
Setting up lunch




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