Sunday, August 10, 2008

From Inner Mongolia to Mongolia

China is getting farther

Today, I wake up in the train. I look at my watch, I see it’s 10am and I panic. I get up as quickly as possible since, according to the policeman from the Erenhot train station, the train arrives at 11am. I ask dad if we still have time for the luggage and if I didn’t wake up too late. He answers that the train will arrive at around 1:30pm and that we have time. I am relieved and wake up slowly. Dad tells me that while he was wandering around the train, he met an American couple that speaks French. So, I go see them with dad and I start talking with them. They live in New Jersey not far from New York. They came with a tourist agency to visit the region. After Ulan Bator, they are going back to China to visit Xi’an and then will go on to Shanghai to take a plane to the United States. That morning, I don’t eat breakfast. I walk among the carriages to find out where the other Westerners come from, but I am unable to. We begin with dad to prepare our luggage to be sure that everything will be ready and we won’t be rushed when we arrive in Ulan Bator. We don’t really have to worry about when the train will stop because every five minutes a woman in a thick Russian accent comes by and says: “20 minutes Ulan Bator”. Since I don’t have to worry, I look out the window and see that we must wait a few kilometers before seeing a house and that it’s almost a party when we see three small houses close to each other. The funniest thing here, is that four houses grouped together is considered a large village. So you can imagine what four houses and a train station represents. I am impatient to see the size of Ulan Bator. The capital’s suburb is slightly more densely populated than the large villages we crossed. In Mongolia, the suburb is different than in France. There aren’t large towers but only small houses. In the suburb, there are a lot of nomads that that have become sedentary and use yurts as houses, very ingenious.

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