Monday, August 4, 2008

From compartment to Yurt

A round house
I wake up this morning on this hard bed with my sheets pushed to the side. Actually, I think it’s dad waking me up. So like every morning, I get up slowly. Today, there isn’t really a problem even though we are in a train. Indeed, we have to be well organized to manage to find our things in a space as small as a compartment. But then again, we didn’t unpack much. So we need about five minutes to pack. We have time and with dad we walk in the carriage. We meet a couple. They are Mongolian and speak English. They ask me about my school, friends and things about French culture. Then, like everyone tells me since I’m in China, they say that I have nice eyebrows. They also say that I have nice eyes and that they resemble those of Nicolas Sarkozy. It made me laugh. Since we are arriving near Xilinhöt, we say goodbye to the couple and get our luggage to get off the train. We arrive in the train station’s hall and a young English-speaking man proposes to help us. We accept and he takes us to the exit. Coming out, we learn that he works at the station and he’s on holiday. We thank him for his help and say goodbye. Since our friend Ayin was supposed to send someone to pick us up, we call him. A woman answers in broken English. She says the driver is on his way. So we wait. An hour later comes a man of about forty, with a square head and a moustache. Since we’re hungry, we call Ayin and we ask the woman who speaks few English words how to say “breakfast” and she answers: Badayedi. Basically, she’s a long-distance translator. We do what we can. Dad tells the driver “Badayedi” and he says ok. We get in his car and he takes us to a little restaurant. Behind the counter, I notice a picture of Gengis Khan. In Mongolia, this man is everywhere, like Mao in China. We order two or three little things including Mongolian bread that looks like a French flatbread called “fougasse”. It’s a traditional cake in the South of France that Titou and Mina, my grandparents, eat a lot of when they are there. It reminds me of them. When we are finished, we go to the car where the driver’s wife is waiting. We get in and take the road to Ujumqin, the city where Ayin lives. We are so tired that dad and I fall asleep after a few minutes. We wake up after an hour later in front of a Mongolian house (a yurt) and we get off. There is a small family there. We sit down for tea. The tea is Mongolian, that is, mixed with milk and butter; it’s really good. After, I see that the boys are watching a cartoon about basketball so I watch it with them. After five minutes, the mistress of the house comes with Mongolian clothing and hands one to me. There begins the photo session. After, dad goes out of the yurt and I stay to watch the basketball show. He comes back into the yurt with two girls, but since they’re not pretty I keep on watching the show. When it’s over, since they came to talk to me I go talk to them. I ask them which singers they listen to and they answer a name that I don’t understand very well. Then dad asks them to sing a song, one of them accepts and sings. She has a beautiful voice. When she finishes her song, we congratulate her, thank the family for their hospitality and go back to the car. I get in the car and after 30 minutes, I feel imprisoned since I like to talk and there is no one there to talk to me. I feel kind of useless. I look at the landscape and it’s lots of prairies, greenery and nomads in yurts with their sheep.

No comments: