Far from Ho-Hum in Hohhot

By Rajit Khanna:

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.
Afterwards, the group went to a “culture square” (literal translation from Chinese to English), a peaceful space in stark contrast to the constant hustle-and-bustle of Hohhot.

Inside the square, the boys walked inside a bow-and-arrow store and shot arrows at a target nearly 10 feet away. Jake managed to hit the bull’s-eye. Then, the group entered a museum that had documented the evolution of Mongolian traditional instruments. Our tour guide was a professor of music from a nearby college. The group saw violin-type instruments with two strings made from horse-hair with different animals at their heads, including horse, antelope, and deer heads. The horse-hair strings later gave way to steel strings, like those on a modern guitar. Moreover, the museum paid homage to the respective masters of the instruments it had on display, including the world’s most famous cellist.

Finally, on to the highlight of the day, the students walked from the hotel to the nearby massage parlor. There, the students received a toe-nail clipping and back and foot massage.

Thoroughly relaxed, the group ventured on to the Hohhot Grand Prix International Judo Federation tournament where they watched multiple highly contested matches, while being slightly confused about the rules.

After a quick dinner near the hotel, the boys checked in for the night, in anticipation of the beginning of their homestay the next morning.

P.S. from Peter Fry:
Rajit forgot to mention one other event from today: After watching the judo matches and before dinner, we were driven to a nearby university athletic complex where the boys played some lively 5-on-5 half-court basketball with a group of friendly (and more skilled) undergrads.