Saturday, August 9, 2008
Towards the city of Erenhot
A few steps before leaving China
I look out the window and see that our new driver has the build of a wrestler: a small head on a large body. He picks up our heaviest luggage with two fingers, which makes me laugh a lot. The problem with this car is that I can’t sleep because we’re no longer only three but five people and now the car is full. The driver turns on Mongolian music and since the lyrics are repetitive, I know them by heart in five minutes. I am so tired that I manage to fall asleep sitting down. When I wake up, dad is filming the rain falling on the window while listening to music. We stop in a place where the driver and the two Chinese could go to the bathroom. With us, there’s a tanned man, rather skinny who smokes a lot and a woman of a certain volume who only laughs and sends SMSs. Dad and I are dying of thirst and we go into a grocery store. It’s a mix of tastes and smells and especially at the end of the store there’s a television showing weight lifting, a sport I like to watch and that I find fun. Since we have to arrive soon in Erenhot to buy the train tickets to Ulan Bator, we leave. Dad bought something to drink for everyone in the car. That’s typically dad, he never plays “personal”. And we get on the road. In the rain and storms, we head towards Erenhot. It’s an hour later that we can call Ayin’s friend to tell him that we’ll be arriving soon. He joins us at the hotel Ayin’s friend reserved for us. It’s a pretty good hotel to leave our things and rest a little. Since he doesn’t understand English, in order for us to explain our plan to him, we have to call Liu Jia (really, she’s precious!) who explains to him our plan. He understands. Dad and him go to the train station while I watch the Olympic games. When they return, they don’t have the tickets yet since the ticket booth wasn’t open. They come with a young, short haired man who will be our interpreter for the day. Even though his English isn’t perfect, he’s a good interpreter. It’s time to eat. We go to a restaurant and order…the same as usual. When we are finished, it’s raining in the streets, a rain that in Paris we would call “three little drops” while here they call it an “extraordinary climate.” This different way of seeing things makes me laugh. With John our interpreter, we go into a mall where we try to find pants. While looking, we bump into a man with a mini television captor around which many people are gathered. I move closer to see what they are watching and I see it’s the Olympics. I sit to watch with them, but since we don’t have much time dad says that we have to leave. Once downstairs we see an electronics store and since dad is looking for an external hard drive, he looks at them and chooses one and on top of that he buys ma a USB key to separate his work from mine (the joys of technology…the sequel). That’s when we separate. With John I go buy a pair of pants I saw in a store during afternoon and dad goes back to the hotel to get the luggage ready.