Inner Mongolia continued…

I’m now on the train heading back to Beijing from Hohhot. We’re taking a hard sleeper car, which means that there is a whole car full of bunk beds. There are three layers of beds: bottom, middle and top. We all have top bunks because that’s all that was left when we bought our tickets. Our train left Hohhot at 9:23 PM and will arrive in Beijing at 7 something in the morning. It’s currently about 10:05 PM which means I will probably have another 25 minutes until they turn off the lights. I’m definitely in very different sleeping conditions than I was last night. The experience in the yurt was fun, though in the middle of the night I woke up a few times because I was so cold. I just pulled the covers over my head and that seemed to do the trick. My favorite part of the evening happened when I went outside to walk to the bathroom. I looked up at the sky and saw something I hadn’t seen since arriving in China. Stars. Yes, stars, and thousands upon thousands of them, a lot more than I can see in Chicago. I stood outside and looked at them for about five minutes, but then I got cold and had to go back inside.

The other memorable event of the evening was the “party” thrown by the staff of the yurts we were staying in, which consisted of the staff putting on an hour long song and dance show. It was a tad bit touristy, of course, but really cute. Plus, at the end, Gabe and I got to dance with them a bit.

This morning we woke up and headed back to Hohhot from the grasslands. We spent the day at a park and walking around the city. There were a lot of people out because besides being a Sunday, it is also International Children’s Day, which is widely celebrated in China. Parents take their kids out to play and have fun on this day, and buy them candy. It was interesting to be in Hohhot for this holiday because Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region, meaning the one-child policy doesn’t apply here. We definitely saw the difference. Whereas in Beijing you rarely see children with siblings we saw them numerous times today. At one point we even got followed around a mall by two girls who I believe were sisters. They giggled at us every time we spoke to them or smiled at them.

Alright, it seems the lights are going off soon, so I’ll leave you here. I hope you’re proud of me for posting something soon after it actually happened. I know I am.

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