Monday, August 7, 2017

Back From China and Inner Mongolia

I am finally back from a week in Chicago and about two weeks over in China visiting in-laws and doing some sightseeing. This isn't intended to be a long travelog, just some pictorial highlights.

We spent the first week of our trip in my wife's hometown, whose name I cannot remember, but it is in the Hebei Province near the larger city of Chengde, which is about 4 hours northeast of Beijing.

Hebei Province. Chengde is the region in the northern part of the map.
Source: Wikipedia
Chengde was home to a summer palace for the Qing emperors. Like most of China, it is very rugged. Some relatives took me to a shrine that was on top of two pillars of rock. How the monks managed to climb up there is beyond me.

A common feature of all cities and "towns" are the enormous apartment blocks. The view is a stark contrast from the temples and various monuments that were in the hills.

The big highlight of the trip was to Inner Mongolia.

Source: Wikipedia

This is the part of Mongolia that is on the Chinese side of the border. My wife's college roommate is Mongolian from the region and set up a college reunion in the city of Ordos. The reunion was a pretty big affair with banquets with lots of drinking! We also took a couple of sightseeing tours.

Genghis Khan is revered and is said to be buried in Inner Mongolia not far from where we were staying in Ordos. There were lots of statues commemorating Genghis:

Even though no one knows exactly where his tomb is,  there is a large shrine that is dedicated to him. The shrine contains his saddle, bow, and a number of other artifacts pertaining to him and his wives.

The Shrine

Statue located at his shrine.
Our trip began and ended in Beijing. Whereas Inner Mongolia was heaven in terms of heat and humidity, the weather for the most part of the trip was hell. High temperatures and humidity made sightseeing a drag. Even though the subway system is air conditioned, it doesn't help when we were packed into cars like sardines.  There were a lot of crowds of sightseers in Beijing that was something I didn't notice the last time we were there. We went to the Summer Palace in the early evening, which turned out to be a blessing temperature-wise. One of the things I got to see that I don't recall seeing last time was the famous or infamous Marble Boat.

It was built by the Empress Dowager Cixi in 1893 using funds earmarked for the Chinese Navy.

There is my much shortened highlights of my visit to China. It is still crazy almost a week after we got back. We are still suffering some from jetlag and the kiddos are back in school, with my son starting kindergarten, and me trying to get ready for upcoming classes and preparing a poster for a scientific meeting. I hope to get back into the swing of things hobby-wise soon.

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