This was a long driving day, 403 km. Leaving Hohhot and driving to Erenhot, the last town before the Mongolian Border. As we left Hohhot we drove up and around the mountains and then suddenly the terrain changed to grasslands. Then from beautiful grasslands into dry sagebrush as we entered the Gobi Desert. About noon we stumbled onto a Ger (Yurt) camp site. This is the first time I have been exposed to such living. These tents are made out of camel felt sandwiched between canvas. The felt is the secret for their insulation. It keeps the wind out and the inside very warm. This was a camp site and the Gers were on wooden platforms that were a few feet off the ground and the platforms were on wheels so that the Ger could be moved around. Inside was a king bed and a little stove, it looked very cosy. There was a larger Ger for the washrooms and a couple of Gers for stores. A very large Ger for the meals with a stage at one end. We stopped for lunch and watched the Mongolian show while we ate. The lunch consisted of mostly mutton which Russ tells me was very good. I am still a vegetarian so I ate some vegetables, rice and steamed buns
Outside the camp came a parade of riders dressed in costume galloping down the road toward the camp site. I believe they were putting on a show for some special guests that had just arrived. It was very exciting to watch. As well as horses which you could ride this camp had camels and ATV’s. It was a very interesting visit and there seemed to be lots of Chinese people enjoying this camp site.
After the Ger Camp the country side was dry and open spaces with not much happening until just before we entered Erenhot when all of a sudden there were huge dinosaurs everywhere. This was a dinosaur park on both sides of the road. Huge bronze statues of every different type of dinosaur. It went on for quite awhile approximately 3 kms. Just after the dinosaur park we entered Erenhot which is a border town. It still has 6 story apartments and some large buildings but most of the town was small little shops. Our hotel was nice, had the internet which was nice because we had to catch up before we left China.
Russ and I walked around the shopping area of the city. Little shops selling just about everything. Lots of hairdresser or barber slash hooker shops. Apparently the shops cut hair by day and service men a different way by night. We found a little hardware shop and Russ bought a hose, in case we have to syphon fuel in Mongolia. He also bought a folding shovel ($5.), some rope and a few empty rice bags to bundle up Nick and Lisa’s stroller they bought in China. We have to carry it on the roof now that more people are traveling with us. Again all the people in Erenhot are really nice. One section we walked through was a restaurant area with people sitting outside at plastic tables and chairs. All the food was the same at each spot (as far as I could see). They cooked over long welded tubes with pieces of hot coal in the bottom of the tube and a grid on top to barbecue meat on a skewer. People just sat at whichever place they liked best and ate the meat on the skewers. I never saw anything else that went with the meat. The whole street smelled really good.
Kelly and James also went for a walk and bought DVD’s but these DVD’s were not sold by the movie they were sold by the actor so for $5. you would get all the movies this actor made (I think there are at least eight movies on each DVD)!! So they bought all the movies of Nicolas Cage, Arnold Shwartzneger, and several others. Another interesting thing was all the signage in Erenhot. They were in Mongolian, Chinese, Russian and sometimes even English.
We all stayed at the hotel for dinner. This was our last dinner with Yura and James as we crossed the border into Mongolia the next day.