(04-16th July, 2004)
It was my first summer in China in the year 2004. My first long holidays, which usually amounts to about two months. Two months is a long time and I decided I'm definitely not gonna stay put in Xi'an. It's hot and dry, and I was told the city would almost come to a stand-still as majority of the students go home during this time. After a semester of teaching, I was ready and eager for a break and some adventure.
Prior to the holidays, Cathy, a student friend invited me to spend the holidays with her family in her home town in Inner Mongolia. I thought to myself,'what better opportunity can there be other than starting my first journey from the north of China'. So I gladly accepted her invitation and thus waited for the much anticipated glorious holidays.
'Shan' aka Mountain
On D-Day, we proceeded for the train station which to my utter horror was way too over-crowded filled with excited students and few tourists who looks almost scared of the overwhelming crowd. After waiting for about an hour we finally boarded the train. It was about 22 hours ride direct from Xi'an to Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia. The train was filled with excited squealing, singing and loud conversations from students. There were students I teach in our compartment and were kind enough to take turns to explain as best they could about Inner Mongolia in broken English. It was fun!
Huang He (Yellow River)
We passed through many long and short tunnels in the mountains and the famous River Huang Ho (Yellow River). Unlike India, most of the mountains in China are very barren. They are mostly treeless and looks bleak. However, on entering Inner Mongolia Province, I could feel my spirit soaring at the landscape which was altogether different. The sky was blue with patches of cloud and there's the beautiful stretch of grassland as far as the eyes could see. It has cool fresh air...Purrrrr..Oh...It's just gonna be glorious!
On the way to Inner Mongolia