Sight-seeing in Hohhot

Trip Start Jun 12, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of China  , Inner Mongolia,
Tuesday, June 15, 2010

We had to get up at eight as we met someone on the first night who offered to show us around in his car. It came about because he wanted to give his daughter a chance to speak some English so he sent her over to help us with the menu and that led to the introduction.  Though as James would know... it's a wonder I didn't send her away again... me needing help with the menu!?

Unfortunately after our effort last night we're still a bit tanked. And Sally keeps coming up with more and more details of what happened last night that I seem to have forgotten. 

First stop was the main temple in town. The temple seems to be a functioning lamasery. Lots of monks praying, that sort of stuff. I don't know whether it's the bad design of the robes or the bad hair cuts but Buddhist monks never impress me as being too bright. And I certainly can't understand how people rave about enlightenment and throwing off earthly belongings etc. and then they have those weird prayer wheels and those big weird statues.

To me it certainly looks to match all the weirdness that christianity has to offer.  I suspect that it's a case of having to have lots of mumbo jumbo to attract the masses. 

I'd love to know what's going through these monks' heads.

Anyway, the temple itself was quite impressive, and it looks like they've created a bit of a shopping area around it all with the ancient Chinese temple look.

We'll have to come back for another look.

Of course we got a few group photos before we left...

Renovations to the temple - modern style.

I was rather fascinated by the gps in the car...  The input method was a touch screen a bit like the iphone ime.  Fascinating.  And yes, it operates all in Chinese so you have to draw the characters on the screen.

The traditional Mongolian script is everywhere...  Even on a modern street sign such as this one...

Next stop was the museum. Amazing, huge, modernistic building. Such a surprise to see something this grandiose out here in Hohhot.

The scale of it all really is impressive.

Inside and out.

It amazes me with all the supposed English teachers around in China that they can't get one of them to proof-read these captions...  oh no!  It's just dawned on me that perhaps they have but because these teachers aren't really teachers, they can't proof-read either.

We didn't really have enough time to have a really good look around.   And they really do need to learn that you can't go round touching all the bloody exhibits. They'll get grotty in no time.  That's always the danger with things like this, especially in communist countries... once things start to fall apart they aren't maintained and it can get pretty ugly.

The mini moat surrounding the coffee shop is already showing signs of wear.

I'm not convinced about the crappy little coffee shop at the museum... especially with the big sign in English...  it's China for Christ sake... they don't need English signs everywhere.

It just doesn't fit in with the grandiosity of the rest of the complex...

It really is so impressive (apart for the coffee shop).  So unexpected out in the middle of nowhere.

We ended up at quite a classy restaurant for lunch.  Lovely presentation of all the dishes.  This boy also looked pretty well presented in a nice kung fu type outfit, but he wouldn't stand still when we wanted to take a photo.

Believe it or not this is mashed potato...  It looks superb... or interesting at least.

How's this for a fried rice...?  The plate and bowl all in one...

Wandering around after lunch, we came across a huge park in the middle of town - complete with lake, huge grassy bits, book-stall, skaters...

That's where some of the locals decided they'd like a photo with me...

We finished up in bar street but disappointingly it was all nothing but KTV - karaoke rooms.  Looks like the western style night-clubs are only in big western style hotels.  I suppose it makes sense.  Who needs to go to a club if you can sit outside with something to eat and have as much cheap beer as you want.  No point going to a club unless you're trying to impress someone.

Sally as seen through a couple of beer bottles.  Quite well framed, I must say.

Finally we had tea on a street corner.  These grills are everywhere.  Skewers of meat...  for 10 cents. 

The skewer places are everywhere and they also have a menu... and beer... they're great!

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Jenny on

Thanks Robert - enjoying your progress - keep it coming.

cheryl on

Tell Nora I would love a set of the bowls as well...all sounds fun so far

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