Inner Mongolia, 2007

Food is one of the big issues we always encounter when traveling in China. This is Mongolian food—-we ate a goat.There is a lot of ritual surrounding the eating of the goat—-

the first cut is accompanied by a cup of liquor, and one offers a drop to the earth, a drop to the gods, a drop to the winds and finally a drop for you. In fact, everything in Mongolia seemed to be accompanied by drinks! Oh, and singing.

At this particular restaurant, we were treated to dancing, singing and lots of different liquor, including airak, which is (I think) fermented mare’s milk.

These young men were not only handsome, but also very talented dancers.

One gentleman played traditional music for us on his 2-stringed instrument, then another demonstrated traditional Mongolian throat singing and finally, a young rock and roll star sang popular tunes. It was altogether a great time!

Below please find some of my favorite pictures of the amazing landscapes of Inner Mongolia. The sky was just HUGE and very much a presence, very changeable and moody. The weather would change in a split second.

One thing I did not notice until I got home was the cell phone towers in the background of virtually every picture—-so you have this huge, wide open space where you see many more animals than humans, completely wired for sound. It was not at all unusual to see a lone teenager on a motorbike herding a flock of sheep or goats, with a cell phone pressed to his ear.

Even though we passed through at least 3 distinct ecosystems the majority of what we saw was endless rolling grassland, often full of tiny colorful wildflowers. Because there was just NOTHING for hundreds of miles, whenever fatigue set in we pulled over into the grass to stretch our legs, take pictures and pick flowers.
Finally I would be remiss if I did not include at least one sunset, typical of the evenings in September. This was taken at the restaurant as well, as night fell.