We stayed at the home of Mr. Guo, whose sixteen-year-old sister Nancy came to his apartment to live with us for the two days. We had met Mr. Guo previously, as he had been driving along with us and taking pictures for us on our trip through Inner Mongolia. We communicated with him in Chinese, and although Nancy’s English was very good, we tried to speak mostly Chinese with her as well. When they first picked us up, we went to the mall and browsed the stores. We played in the mall arcade and tried our hands at some pottery. Both of us were surprised by the sheer number of floors in the mall (12!). Then we stopped at a restaurant where we ate spicy fish with lychee and shrimp. Later, we played badminton and grew an affinity for the game despite being relative newcomers to the game in the beginning.
There is no student-written blog entry today because the boys all scattered to their different homestay locations this morning. Ms. Bai and I explored the city all day today, mostly on foot. The highlight was finding and wandering around the fascinating and bustling Muslim neighborhood in Hohhot.
The boys enjoyed their latest morning of the trip, waking up for a 10:30 brunch containing delectable shao mai. Duer (our head tour guide in Inner Mongolia) even said that the relatively cheap shao mai elicited much more fanfare than the far more expensive FULL LAMB we had in the grasslands on Ms. Jin’s birthday.
We had a quite a birthday celebration for Ms. Jin last night in our dining yurt. Not only did the dinner feature a magnificent whole roasted lamb and a specially ordered cake from Hohhot, but there was much singing — even by our boys!
The following entry was written this afternoon by Brent Gorton:
On Tuesday morning, we visited a two hundred-year-old Tibetan Buddhist temple. It resembled the temple we had seen in Hohhot very closely because it was the summer palace for the original when the Hohhot weather became too hot.
Everyone woke up refreshed and energized after having had the chance to sleep for at least nine hours last night (the first time this has happened the entire trip). Our day started off with a trip to a farm, which was very close to our camp. The farm was mainly a horse farm where they milked the mares, and we had a chance to sample the milk. It had been milked the day before, so it was fermented and that did not tickle the taste buds of most of us there. It was an “acquired taste” as Mr. Fry put it.
Since we stayed in the desert last night, an update was not able to be given and thus this entry includes two days of activities. On Friday, we ate a quick breakfast at our hotel in Ordos, then loaded the bus and drove about 45 minutes to the tomb of Genghis Khan. This “mausoleum” was enormous, dedicated to the great leader of the Mongols, who created human history’s largest land empire ever about 800 years ago. We saw many statues of Genghis Khan, as well as paintings on the walls commemorating him. It was amazing to see the memorial of such an important figure in history. Afterwards we drove to a restaurant in Ordos and had a great meal there. Then we got back on the bus and drove towards the not-so-distant desert.
Today was full of excitement and adventure. We started off the day with an exquisite breakfast in the Phoenix Hotel in Hohhot, which marked the beginning of our journey into the grassland. Having traveled for an hour and a half, we arrived at a small village where we had a tasty lunch. We had vegetables, a pig leg, chicken, lamb, and a fish professionally caught in the Yellow River, and left quite a few leftovers. Afterwards, we went to a local greenhouse, where we picked fresh peaches and nectarines.
Today the group had an early start with an 8am buffet-style breakfast. Afterwards, we headed to the Inner Mongolia Museum where we met some high school seniors who would accompany us through the rest of the day. A tour guide then brought us through three exhibits of the Inner Mongolian history, starting with the prehistoric history.