Archive for April 30, 2015

So you live in Inner Mongolia, do you ride horses?

One thing I like about living in Hohhot is that there are some similarities between it and my hometown of Oklahoma Cit, OK. Mostly, I mean there are similar perceptions about what kid of city it is from people who don’t live there.
For example, when you live in OKC you know that all modern conveniences are accessible and it’s a great place. However, when you tell someone from New York City that you’re from OKC they ask questions like, “WOW! Do you guys still ride horses? How about paved roads? and so on.

Life here is similar. Hohhot has come a long way in terms of development in the 13 years I’ve been coming in and out. But still when you tell someone from other larger parts of China that you live in Hohhot, they also ask about riding horses, living in a yurt, and access to modern conveniences.

This video and the questions in print below were posted to a popular wechat public account “mengguquan.” You can follow them for Mongolian culture, events, and news.

I think the video is hilarious and the text after the video answers all those silly questions that people from here often get asked.

The title is something like “Inner Mongolia is like this, don’t ask again, ok?”

Anyway, even if you can’t appreciate the humor in the answers, at least enjoy the video.

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Sweet finds at the market today

I generally do the grocery shopping for my family on Monday, and whenever possible, I try to do it as close to home as possible. We’ve lived in our new location for about a month, but so far I’m quite pleased with our selection.

I know bacon is getting more and more common and easier to find, but finding 1.5 kg of it for 38 RMB was the best deal I’ve ever found.


Today they were also opening a new fruit supermarket on our corner.

Those, my friends, are avocados! I know you can find them sporadically here and there, but if they really do keep offering them just at the gate of my complex, I may never leave. And I’ll invite you all over for some guacamole.
They will set you back about 10-15 RMB each. 38 RMB/jin Please come buy some so they’ll keep ordering more.

Our family will be eating well this week. What’s on the menu at your house?

OH! I wish I drank soda/pop/coke (whatever your region calls it) because then I would be excited that a small store at the gate of our complex has A&W root beet, cherry Dr. Pepper, and a few other harder-to-find varieties. And there’s a mounted elk head on the wall of the store.

Have you found any random imports in random locations? Leave us a comment about what and where.

more useful public service phone numbers

This rather handy, very thorough list of service numbers was hanging in my friend’s apartment complex. I snapped a picture and have translated it below. These numbers more than likely won’t have English-speaking service, but I hope I’ve at least saved you the step of finding the number.



China Mobile


China Unicom


China Telecommunications






China Natural Gas




Water something


Electric Hotline


Electric Company Service number


Public Heating Company


Weather forecast


Local telephone directory


Post Office Service


Taxation Services Hotline


Telecommunications transactions


Airport hotline


City public transportation hotline


Train station hotline




 If this list doesn’t have the number you’re looking for, try one of these previous posts:

Government Offices

Public Services



Reading Joy Book Club

A great new place is available for those of you with kids! The Reading Joy Bookclub has original language English books, picture books, graded readers, pop-up books, audio books, and, of course, selections in Chinese as well!

The library is available on Saturday, Sunday mornings, Tuesday mornings or by appointment.

Enjoy reading your books in the library, in a classroom, or check them out and take them home. Upstairs is a lounge for the parents where you can enjoy tea or coffee while your child looks at the books downstairs.

A year-long membership can be purchased for 700 RMB/family or half a year membership for 500 RMB/family with a deposit of 300 RMB. (That’s right, siblings can share one membership)!


Reading Joy Bookclub



The library is located on the north second ring road in the California Luxury Mansion development.

Here’s the address and other information in Chinese:



Contact: Helen 18647159615


Exhibition Center

Someone asked about the website to find events at the exhibition center in the comments a few days ago. I’ll post my response here for anyone else who may be interested.


If you mean the exhibition center on Xin Hua, here’s the web address:

I’ve personally never been to an event inside the center myself, but have walked around different displays they’ve had in the parking lot. I’ve never heard of anything really interesting happening here.


If you mean the international exhibition center east of the east er huan, I think this is it:

But another site mentions it as well:

This was the location of China’s Horse Industry Fair last year and it was a really great, classy event.


If you mean the product exhibition center on north Xing An, I can’t find anything for that one. The advertisements outside the building lead me to believe there are jewelry exhibits inside.


Food Swap Hohhot

I think we all like to eat tasty, homemade treats. But, making those treats takes extra shopping time, extra preparation time, and at times, special skills to really nail the taste of home.

I’d like to start something a group of folks did in my hometown (Oklahoma City). Each month participants had a food swap. You make extra of whatever deliciousness you are making, and you get to trade with others for their deliciousness.

Here’s what I propose for Foodswap Hohhot:

  • Anyone can participate. You need to sign up in advance so we know how many items to bring. (Ten participants means you bring (and receive) nine items). If registration exceeds ten we’ll group into smaller groups for the exchange.
  • Items need to be properly packaged and labeled with storage instructions and expiration or other pertinent information.
  • Use the best quality ingredients you can find.
  • Items must be homemade


Some suggestions of types of items to bring:

  • sauces, dressings, salsas, etc
  • flavored butters, cheeses, yogurt
  • jams, jelly, other homemade canned goods
  • baked goods
  • soups
  • cereals, granola, etc
  • other delicious items that may be hard to acquire or make in Hohhot.

A portion should have 4-6 servings.


The first swap will take place in early May, perhaps at the return of the EXPAT EXCHANGE. Iif you plan to participate, you must register at least a week ahead of time for planning purposes. We’ll keep you posted on the exact date of the exchange.

For our very first swap, we are going to keep it simple while we work out all of the details. We are going to do even trades. For example, if ten swappers are participating, each should bring 9 items to trade. We also don’t want any of your hard work to go to waste, so if you have any dietary restrictions, etc. that would keep you from using any of the goods, we ask that you either give it to someone that you know would enjoy it or leave it at the swap with no hurt feelings.
Also, we hope everyone will participate with a kind and generous heart instead of having a critical attitude about the portion sizes, expense, or personal dislike of an item brought by another participant.


Here’e a link to other suggestions from the event in Oklahoma. You’ll need a VPN to access it. Many of the swapped items wouldn’t be feasible here, but just some ideas to get your creative cooking juices flowing.



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