Inner Mongolia - Home of Ghengis Khan
"Hunkering down on the Steppes"
Hohhot is an amazing place. To the untutored eye, it is a dazzling vision of stark buildings, overly wide streets and aesthetically challenging architecture. To some is the gateway city to the wild ,hinterland frontier of backwater China. But the untutored have a tendancy to dive into shallow waters, breaking their necks in the process, rather than spend a moment contemplating what lies under the surface.
And what a glorious discovery awaits those who ecplore just a little deeper before dismissing this city, out-of-hand.
I've been here 4 weeks. I've missed the summer-time grasslands tourist circus that keeps many families alive through the long winters and helps to pay for the preservation of the grasslands as one of China's cultural and environmental treasures.
What I have discuvered are honest, unassuming, friendly and generous people. Entertainments are simpler, yet somewhat more aluring than the numerous expat traps that pepper the districts of Shanghai. And there is a thiving interest in the development and learning of languages other than Chinese.
Of all the cities I've visited in China, Hohhot has one of the most impressive collections of English language books for purchase, covering not only the learning of English, but also a vast collection of professional development texts for teachers. Fantastic!
You've probably guessed that I teach for a living. I have taught students and teachers, provided professional development for both Chinese and Expat instructors AND taught subjects other than English within an english language environment.
As time goes bye, what this space. I will share with you the delights of this area as I discuver them and which are sadly, scantilly covered by such august tomes as The Lonely Planet.
"Chingis and I"
When I was young, my grandmother used to tell a story which, via some matriarchal line, related me and Ghengis Khan.
As such, it didn't seem right not to visit the mausoleum and pay my respects to the grand architect, uniter of a people, and father of a nation.
So, here you see me, Temujin Storm Crow TEMPEST (Tsc Tempest) just after I'd been to see my grand ancestor and namesake.
"Sounding Sand Gorge"
This is one of four Sand dune systems that exist in China that have the facinating property of making sound when the sand is moved. Each palce has it's local legend to expalain why the dunes make noise. Unlike the other three, however, this one in Inner Mongolia is a gorge rather than a dune.
The other three are:
Mingsha Shan of Hami, near Baishitou in Xinjiang;
Mingsha Shan and Cresent Moon Lake near Dunghuang in Gangsu; and
Shaputou near Zhongwei County in Ningxia [The only one I haven't visited so far.]