A Day in Hohhot
Trip Start Jun 12, 2010
27Trip End Ongoing
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After a quick jog I met up with the others and we went exploring in search of food.
We finally settled on this particular street-side restaurant because it specialises in food of a local Chinese ethnic minority - the Ba Meng.
Though we weren't expecting to attract such a crowd. One bloke even came past to compare iphones... Yes, they really are everywhere.
They had goat on the menu and as you don't find that everywhere I ordered goat omelette and also goat fried with potatoes. Both were delicious.
The actual speciality of the house were the round pancake things in the picture. They were filled with mutton and the idea is to stab them a few times with chopsticks then pour vinegar over them.
After lunch we went in search of the World Veteran's Table Tennis Tournament which is on in Hohhot at the moment. The promo banners were everywhere. We got directions from the people at the restaurant and hopped into a taxi but all we found when we got to the stadium was the huge sign promoting it... and it showed that the tournament had actually finished two days ago. The pic's just one of the many on the streets... the actual stadium is huge...
But it was an interesting part of town so we decided to walk back to the centre. On the way we passed this impressive statue of Genghis Khan. There were a few locals near by and I thought if anyone's going to be hanging out here in the shadow of Genghis it will be Mongolians... and sure enough they did speak Mongol.
Despite the fact that the Monols in Hohhot are very much a minority... even the bus timetables have a Mongolian version. Notice the strange traditional curly script. It's only used in Inner Mongolia and no longer used in Mongolia.
Next stop was the horse track for a beer. The track is only used once a year apparently during Namdaam Festival. But it seems that the rest of the time it's a restaurant with very much a Mongolian theme.
After the beer we headed off again... guided by my gps.
A shop for twins... It seems that the one child policy hasn't stopped twins...
Sally and Nora were feeling the heat and the long distance so we stopped for a drink in a pub that was a bit more up market than we usually would pick. Bloody impressive inside though. Quiet, classy...
On we then went but perhaps they lost confidence when I decided we were going in the wrong direction and had to back-track a bit. When I told them that the spot we started from was only 300 metres down the road, they looked so dubious that even I lost confidence and agreed to take a taxi. It was a very busy street and the taxi was going in the opposite direction of where we were walking, but that didn't worry us as we thought we were going in the wrong direction anyway... but he didn't want to take us as he said it was only about 200 metres down the road... How we didn't recognise the road I don't know.
Anyway he drove around the block and suddenly we were back where we'd started. The gps was right after all.
Probably tempted by the penguin 2 litre beer containers on every table we decided to have tea at a place near where we'd had lunch.
The next day we were supposed to be meeting someone we'd met the first day... at 8 in the morning, but some people just can't say no... and one penguin led to another and by the time we'd left we'd knocked off 8 litres of beer.
But in the middle of all that, I heard a couple of blokes speaking Mongolian so I said hello and they dragged me inside to meet a couple of government officials they were eating with. The insisted I had some of the 50% sorghum vodka they'd obviously had too much of themselves... but they under-estimated me.
Not only did I go shot for huge shot with them but I amazed them by eating some silk worms... Amazed because I ate the silk worms? Well, not really... amazed because I at them with the outer casing which you're apparently supposed to break open. I think they were actually disgusted with my effort.
And the Chinese bloke who joined us when I'd been sitting outside, apparently went the grope with Sally. Certainly an unforgettable night... well, most of it. By next morning I'd forgotten the last hour or so already.
By the time we left at 1:30 or so, the owner, who'd been passed out on the floor, wanted to shout us our bill, the Mongolians wanted to shout us... everyone wanted to shout.
How we got home I don't know...