Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Inner Mongolia: The Experience (4): Meeting the Locals

We met a lot of great locals during our trip.  First and foremost, our drivers and guides on this trip. They took great care of us during our entire stay in Inner Mongolia.  We didn't have to worry about a thing.  I can't say it enough that a good driver is very important when you are planning a trip to Inner Mongolia.  Not only they are your driver and guide, they also pick your accommodations, restaurants, etc.  They are your person when you are there. Without them, we probably won't end up in Qi Qian and we probably won't enjoy ourselves as much in Inner Mongolia.  Thank you!

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Mr. and Mrs. Cheong
If you want to contact Mr. Cheong for his service, click here!
(Sorry, his website is Chinese only but his wife can assist.)
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Mr. Cheong Jr. and the van we rode for the entire week
He is very funny :)
(He is the nephew of Mr. Cheong)
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A close-up of our good looking Mr. Cheong ;)
Sorry ladies, he is married.

I love the Mongolia woman we met on our way back to Hailar.  She is a humble nomad and we literally chase after her when she was busy tending her herd just to check out her home (it's a traditional yurt), try the real Mongolian milk tea, and play with the sheep baby.  Click here for the full post.

I will always remember the other shepherd we met just along the main road when I was chasing after his donkeys.  I regret I did not take a picture! (He has really gorgeous eyes!) The guy asked me why I am taking pictures of his donkeys and I said I don't often see them running around in the wild and free.  He looked puzzle and said, "Your place has no grass, no animals?  What do you have then?".  I replied "Buildings, lots of buildings."  He said, "Oh, we have those too."  (He was referring to the 5-story tall buildings in the nearby town.  I was almost sad when he said that, not for him but for us... We had so many building we have no land left!  That's really sad!!!)  He even said he would show us around on his motorcycle but he was busy.  If he wasn't a simple shepherd who is genuinely curious about us, I almost believed he was hitting on us.  LOL!

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The lady we met in the town of Moerdaoga (莫爾道嘎) is also a person I will not forget.  She is an amazing, amazing cook!  Watching her work in the kitchen is a joy and I am having great trouble reproducing the dishes she taught us even though I filmed and pictured everything :P  (I actually tried recreating the squash dish tonight and fortunately, it almost turned out the same!)  She actually runs a little hostel inside her home that's clean and well kept.  Nevertheless, there is no toilet inside the house and going to the toilet at night would be tricky.  I am not sure how to shower there either... and there was no wifi (These were the points we told her to work on if she really wants to run a hostel business.)  I wish her the best of luck!

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We went grocery shopping with her
small shop but they sell everything~
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her kitchen
no water and gas hook up
The water is from a well (?) and she uses the traditional wooden stove

(give me that kitchen and we might as well all go starving...)
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She said she used to work for a restaurant and she knows her stuff
Chopping the squash and talking to us all at the same time
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Wooden stove is actually the best if you know how to use it
unfortunately, I don't... T_T
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You know the meal is going to be promising when you see her work
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so simple and yet, neither my mom or I can duplicate what she made
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A relief from a meat saturated feast the last few days
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This is the soy based dipping for my cucumbers
The vegetables in Inner Mongolia is so good!
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Don't judge a book by its cover.
and certainly don't judge food by its container!!!

this is the BEST pickled radish I had in a long time!
I should have asked her if I could take the whole thing home plus the recipe.

Last but not least, my fellow travellers~  All of us shared a very different travel perspective and style but we all took care of each other and respected our differences.

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Because of the heavy rain, our van got stuck in the road
We all had to get out and push!

Luckily, that was the only time we had to do it.  :P
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walking back to the van after mission accomplished
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Having fun riding in the open field
I missed horse-riding even though it gave me cramps!
I think I will be good at it if I ride all the time ;)
They said I was a natural!
LOL

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