Another Day in Xilinhot
Trip Start Jun 12, 2010
27Trip End Ongoing
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Not sure what was going on here... he didn't seem to be playing anyone. Perhaps he had some tricky position set up to challenge passers by with.
I discovered that the square is much bigger than we'd thought and further on was a street selling mainly antiques.
With a nice monument opposite which I just had to get a foto of.
Again, so many antique shops that it was overwhelming and we just said 'enough' in the end. And Sally had already bought her 1000 year old horse statue in Hohhot for about $200 so she was hardly going to find a bargain to beat that...
On the way back to the hotel I discovered a musical instrument shop and as one might expect, they had hard cases for every Chinese - and Mongolian instrument one could think of... including the morin khor. Finally a chance for Sally to transport her morin khor around without the risk that the head or ears might get knocked off. Trouble is her Mongolian morin khor wouldn't fit in the case so now... she's got two of them! I suppose if you average out the prices they aren't so expensive each.
Looking back down the street it looked like there were some steps right at the far end that might be interesting so I suggested we get a taxi over to them. Surprise, surprise... it was a big temple complex. Pretty impressive.
No doubt I was raving about how we thought we knew Xilinhot and then we (I) discover this place.
But first we decided to eat. We'd had Mongolian food in Mongolia, so we thought we might as well try out a Mongolian restaurant in Inner Mongolia. The truth is though, that we cheated... we ended up ordering Chinese food. But what they did have, that we didn't encounter in Mongolia itself was
kumiss - fermented mare's milk. I just had to try it of course. For Sally it was the morin khor... for me it was kumiss. I was a bit put off by the fact that they had to dig it out from the back of the fridge and it came in a plastic bottle that once contained some soft drink.
What did it tast like? What do you expect from fermented mare's milk... it tasted like really sour, off milk. Though Nora thought it smellt more like spew. Lonely Planet warns against it but I thought it wasn't too bad. If we hadn't been leaving town the next day I'd have knocked off the bottle.
No big deal, just a duck's foot. Nora and Sally need to try more of this sort of stuff!
By the time we finished our meal the temple had closed but we were able to walk up the steps in the middle. Great views back down the main road towards the town square.
In the distance one can actually make out the Chinese flag atop a very tall flagpole - in the square where yesterday's concert was.
There were a heap of people out for the walk up to the top. Just a pleasant way to spend part of the evening I suppose.
Up the top were some... stupas perhaps? I'm not sure what the signifigance of the coloured ribbons is... but it certainly makes them look tatty, I must say.
Sunset from the top.
The temple may have been closed but outside was a notice in the most mangled English I or anyone is ever likely to find on any notice anywhere. It really is worth clicking on the photo to check it out in more detail and read
I have to also post up the Mongolian version... not because there might be any errors... but because I'm still fascinated that the old script is everywhere.
I thought I had a pretty good photo here... till I had a closer look and found that Nora had snuck in there...
Is she taking a photo of me?
More random people asked Nora and Sally for a photo opportunity. I wonder whether Chinese/Mongolians go to temples because they know that's where the tourists like to go?
There propelling skate boards were everywhere. And with a majority of girl riders strangely enough. Notice that she still had time to put up the 'v' sign.
Opposite the temple was modern Xilinhot. in the traditional light blue Mongolian colours.
Back to the main square for the second day of the concert that we missed the day before. Unfortunately this particular day it finished really early so we got to hear about one song.
Quite an interesting use of fire and paper. It took a while but they finally managed to get it airborne. Good in theory as long as the balloon stays up till the fire goes out... I can't imagine that it always works like that.
Well, the way the Chinese are so slap-happy with crackers I suppose an extra bit of floating fire won't make that much difference.
Fruit for sale everywhere... perhaps this sort of thing would make Australia a bit healthier.