inner mongolia

Here's a quick little update on one of the most incredible weekends I just had! It was the Dragon Boat Festival, so we had three days. We took a train Friday night from Beijing to Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia (a Chinese province just south of modern-day Mongolia). We arrived Saturday morning, found our way to our sweet little hostel, and then wandered about Hohhot for the day. Sunday morning, we headed two-and-a-half hours into the grasslands, where we settled into our yurts after an authentic Mongolian meal with our hosts. We spent the rest of the day riding horses, doing archery, exploring the grasslands, and attempting to star-gaze through the intermittent clouds. Monday morning, we drove from the grasslands for another 4 hours to reach the desert! There we rode in the big dune buggy, sledded down the sand slopes, rose camels, and played soccer. On our way back to Hohhot to catch our train, we got stuck in a traffic jam that cut so close to our train time that Lucia started praying the Lord's Prayer in Spanish (she's from Spain), and taught me too! We made the train, so I guess it worked. ;) We arrived back in Beijing at 4:00am Tuesday morning, and got back to the school in time for classes. What a weekend!

Here's our little group at a Tibetan Buddhist temple on our way out to the grasslands! me, Lucia, Caroline, Katy, Todd, and Ian.

These Tibetan Buddhist flags decorate most places. There are Buddhist prayers written in Tibetan on them. From my previous conversations with the Tibetans, my understanding is that the flapping of the flags symbolizes sending the prayers to heaven, or to their ancestors.

Our yurt! It was surprisingly well-sized and comfortable. I'm down with having one of these instead of a house! Only downside: the bathrooms were actually clumps of tall grass about 100 feet from the yurts.

Katy and the cow.

mongolian grasslands. one of my new favorite places.

just listening to these sheep took me back home! I loved seeing them wander about the grasslands, and come home as soon as the sun began to set.

from grasslands to deserts in just one car ride.

my camel buddy! thank you mr. camel for letting me ride you around the desert. I hope you're not as sore as I am!

bucket list item: check.


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