My Family

My Family
Summer 2015

Thursday, May 28, 2015

May 27---Inner Mongolian Grasslands Tour

We decided to brave it and go on the grasslands tour which we have heard much about.  A few weeks ago I read some postings about it and was actually kind of scared about the drive out there because of wild driving and hairpin curves on the mountains.  But, to be honest, I don't think it was that bad.  It reminded me of the mountains in Tennesssee.  All paved roads and yes the drivers are a little crazier and honk their horns a lot, etc.  But, nobody in our car got sick or terrified. 
 It is a 2 hour trip out there so it takes a while, but again not bad particluarly for older kids.

When I asked our guide Sandra about the drive beforehand she said some people get nervous but "we are mountain people so we are used to it".  lol 

This was our first stop.  It was a working farm.  A family invited us into their home to sip Mongolian Milk Tea and snack on the things they eat with it. 

There were several of these Yurt buildings on the property which were used for the farming help during the season when they need it.  Right now they were empty, but they are really used to house people.

 These are currently the spring flowers in the grasslands.

 This table was set for us when we arrived.  It is on a hard platform which is also used for a bed.  Our guide also told us, since the winters are so cold, they put hot bricks under the platform at night for sleeping during the cold months.

 Our Mongolian Babies surrounded by tradition.

 Our family celebrating the heritage of our Mongolian babies.

Mongolian Tea is a milky tea that is actually kind of salty.  It's very rich, but salty.  One of the things I've grown to like is the millet in the tea.  The larger bowl of biscuits was relatively easy to eat-but very plain in taste.  The smaller 2 bowls in front held a milk based "snack" that could have cracked your crown.  SO hard.  It sounded like we were eating rocks. I think the creamy stuff was a butter, but I wasn't brave enough to try that one.

 Traditional Mongolian hats
 Emma sat alone for a while just sipping tea after the crazy boys left to wander around.  I think she drank 2-3 cups of it.

 This was the man of the house--full of fun and personality.  We could tell he was cracking jokes and messing with us, but we couldn't understand what he was saying.  He even Posed for Isaac to take a portrait and made faces at him.

We then drove on to a more "commercial" tourist area for lunch.  Peter and i noted that indeed it was "commercial" but even they way they do commercial compared to how we do it is different.  There was not gift shop.  And the premises was not all polished a perfect.  It was still pretty cool.  Peter and Isaac were greeted with traditional Mongolian liquor as they got off the bus.  They didn't even offer me any.  Lol  um --no thank you. Only for the men.

 Isaac said that stuff was "Strong" and had some type of a fruit flavor to it.

 "Rent a Yurt"---lol 
 This is also a hotel.  You can rent one of these and sleep in it.

Brothers--the bonding is coming along well-but this was after a little "incident" earlier at the hotel  where they had a bit of a tiff.  It was good to see they resolved it.

 Mongolian Lunch---Similar in style to things we had in ChiFeng with the orphanage directors.  Lots of meat, mutton, potatoes, and some spicy things too.

She's getting pretty good at using those chop sticks.  (she's gonna kill me for this)

  In the middle of our meal there was suddenly a performance with traditional singing and costumes.  VERY loud--but cool to see.

 This man was selling nuts and dried fruit outside the restaurant.  Fei Fei pointed to a few things he wanted so we were going to buy them.  But, he wouldn't let us pay him.  We found out later that he asked if Fei Fei was from an orphanage.  He was grateful for us so he wouldn't let us pay.

This kind of thing has happened more than once.  Many Chinese people have very big hearts for the orphans.  It makes one take pause and reevaluate previous thoughts we have had about the culture.

The Mongolian Grasslands

sheep and horses and cows scatter across the fields.

Silliness in the backseat of the car

More scenery as we crossed the mountains to return to Hohhot

We stopped and did a little shopping back in Hohhot and a traditional Factory market.
Apparently I was too busy shopping to take pictures inside.  Since the orphanage had already given the other 2 kids traditional Mongolian "dress", we ended up buying one for Lucas as well.  In addition to that we bought them all "hats" so stay tuned for those pictures--coming soon.

Big brother Isaac and his sister.
"I'll carry her"

and then there are these two....

More swimming followed after dinner.
and then it was time for 
Good night.