INNER MONGOLIA, PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA Much of my trip was spent in Xilinhot, about six hours' drive from Beijing. MAY 2017
It’s not always easy to put experiences into words, or to capture moments in pictures — everything can be so fleeting when it’s happening.
“How often do you shop back home?” my guide Munkhgerel asked me one day. “What do you do with clothes you no longer want?”
I was a little puzzled at first. But I quickly saw her point. In Inner Mongolia, everyone is in charge of clearing their own trash. By “clearing”, I mean, drive out into the grasslands, find a hole in the ground, throw the trash in and set it on fire.
This is why Munkhgerel hardly shops and buys clothes. It is not the happiest thing to do when you have to set fire to your clothes — even when you’ve outgrown them. Their idea of waste disposal is to bury or burn it. It made me think about how we take something as basic as throwing out trash for granted. Or how mindless we are in our over-consumption.
Before I decided to to visit Inner Mongolia, I was not sure what else to expect other than Mongolian Yurts and their famous grasslands. But I was sure I wanted to learn more about their culture.
“Trash-talking” — that was just the beginning of our interesting conversations about everything under the Mongolian sky.
It’s not always easy to put experiences into words, or to capture moments in pictures — everything can be so fleeting when it’s happening. The fondest memory I have of my trip here is the night sky. It was so black I thought we might need a new word for black. I would stretch my hands out in front of me, and I would not see a thing. So, sorry, no pictures. But my, I have never seen stars like that — so many, so bright.
I thought I saw a shooting star. Maybe it was a plane. I made a wish anyway.