Archive for October 30, 2015

Hohhot Souvenir Gift Items

The gift items you can purchase on this website now have a place you can view and pick up in Hohhot!

You may view and purchase items at Xi Hua Da Sha Office 1108.

Xi Hua Da Sha is the office building on the southeast corner of Xing An and Hailar, just above Run Yu.

熙华大厦 1108

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Mugs 30 RMB or 4 for 100 RMB!

Prices vary for canvas prints, but we can custom make any size or design you want!

 

Mongolian Wrestling Event

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Hasar is a local organization that is seeking to take Mongolian wrestling to an international level. They also have a number of gyms across the city and province and host other events from time to time. Their main event is still hosting an promoting Mongolian wrestling, also known as bokh, events.

The championships for the 2014-2015 season will be held on November 7 at the Inner Mongolia Sports Stadium.

I haven’t been to a Hasar event, but my husband says they put on a good show with singing, dancing, and other entertainers between each round of wrestling.

 

I haven’t been able to confirm this piece of news, but I keep hearing that Mongolian wrestling is slated to be an exhibition sport at the next Olympics. Whether it will be an exhibition sport or not, it’s still an important aspect of Mongolian culture, so check it out if you can!

 

 

Also, check out this canvas print of Mongolian wrestling and other gifts available for purchase.

wrestlers with text

false information

It’s happened to us all, right? You ask where the office to do X is, someone gives you directions, you get there, and the office isn’t for doing X at all. They tell you where to go. You get there and it’s not right either. Or, someone at some window gives you completely false information about some step (or all the steps) to complete whatever process it is you want to do.

There are many variations of this story, but the commonality is being given misinformation, even by people who should know, and it’s one of the most frustrating aspects of life as a foreigner in Hohhot. (Or am I the only one?)

Today’s post is dedicated to the craziest things (WRONG, FALSE) we’ve heard from people who should know.

  1.  There’s a US Consulate in Hohhot.

    When my husband was studying at Nei Da, we had to submit all kinds of documents for our family to be dependents on his visa. Some such documents were authenticated copies of our marriage license and our children’s birth certificates. We didn’t have our documents authenticated when we arrived and it was a hassle to do from China (it’s not as difficult from your country of residence). Anyway, in the course of asking about the process he told us we could just stop in and ask at the consulate. As we talked further, we realized that he thought there was a US Consulate in Hohhot. The guy whose job it is to process student visas for foreign students on a daily basis thought there was a US Consulate in Hohhot. My best guess is that his office deals so much with Mongolian students, and there is a Mongolian Consulate here, that they just forget that no other country has a consular presence here.

  2. Getting your passport authenticated is easy and free.We are in the final steps of our WOFE registration. At two of the steps, the offices required our passports to be authenticated. It was a crazy request anyway, but what was even more crazy was that the boss of the bureau told my husband, “I don’t know why you’re complaining about having to do it. It’s an easy process and free.” It’s neither. It requires going in person the Embassy in Beijing, sending documents to a processing service in the States who then take them to the US Department of State to be signed by the Secretary of State, then taken to the Chinese Consulate/Embassy in the US for authentication. Each step has a fee, plus shipping and the agency fee. Altogether it took a few weeks and about 3000 RMB each time.
  3. Your kids don’t have to exit/enter.We recently got (what we thought) was our newest daughter’s visa. Turns out, it was not actually a visa, just a document that allowed her to stay until the time of our next exit/entry requirement. In the process of asking all the questions about how to get her an actual visa, the worker at the counter who processes visas daily told us our kids don’t need to exit/re-enter, just the adults do. I suppose this could technically be true since we’ve never actually tried not bringing them when we cross an international border, but since they each have a passport and a visa that says they have to exit every 120 days, I’m guessing they do actually need to. Also, since we have to provide copies of our entry/exit stamps all the time, I’m guessing that someone is actually checking to make sure they do exit/re-enter.
  4. You can’t buy train tickets here.There’s a small window to buy train tickets near the gate of Gong Da. It’s near our house so we’ve bought our tickets there before. The last time we went the same worker who had helped my husband before told him he couldn’t buy them there with a passport. (instead of Chinese ID card). He asked her, “Didn’t I just buy the here recently? Weren’t you the one who helped me?” Just a little pushing and she agreed to help us, and we did indeed get our tickets….at the very window she said we couldn’t. I don’t advocate being polite, but sometimes a “no” here isn’t a “no” and in this case the worker probably just initially didn’t want to go to the hassle of entering foreign names into the computer. However, our desire to not be hassled into going to the train station and waiting in a long line won. (this time).
  5. You can’t be here.This wasn’t a false request, it was true, but it’s still crazy. As I said, we are in the final stages of our business registration. This week we’ve been busy preparing the 200 or so pages of documents to change our visas to be employment visas issued by our company. These documents have to be submitted to the employment bureau. But here’s the crazy thing…..the guy at the counter refused to speak to my husband, asked him to leave, and required someone else submit the documents on our behalf. It’s a good thing we’ve hired our first employees, otherwise we’d have to trouble a friend to do it. It just seems weird to me that it’s our business which has been properly registered, and they are our documents which we have painstakingly prepared and we (foreigners) can’t go into the office that processes our visa to present them ourselves???

 

How about you? What’s the craziest bit of misinformation you’ve ever been given?

another wechat group

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There are a few wechat groups for foreigners in Hohhot already, however, the largest one is apparently full according to the last few people I’ve sent invitations to. I created another one today, so feel free to join us to ask questions about the city, meet other foreigners, and for those of you who have been here longer, to help the newbies out.

How many foreigners in Hohhot?

I get asked this question often, and generally I find most people are surprised by my answer and think it’s too high. How I arrived at my answer of a few thousand is detailed over on the expat life page but recently I’ve had two encounters that confirmed by guesses.
We had to go to the main gong an ju/PSB for our new daughter’s visa. While we were there, there were literally HUNDREDS of passports stacked up on the desk waiting to be processed. Granted, we were there the same as Nei Da brought a group of students, but for one day it was a TALL stack of passports.

We also recently had to get our health screening for our soon-to-be-processed work visas and residence permits. We asked the nice lady at the blood drawing station how many foreigners they see a year and she answered “hao ji qian” or several thousand. And the only foreigners who do the health screenings are those with residence permits so her answer of “several thousand” doesn’t include anyone that here on any kind of short term visa (tourist, business, etc).

Both of these situations confirmed how me that my guess is reasonable.

What do you think? Is my guess of several thousand too high, too low, or accurate?

Thanks for your support!

We’ve gotten a number of emails this week thanking us for site. It’s nice to receive compliments and we appreciate the support!

Our facebook page also now has over 200 likes! We like to see all our numbers increasing and we’ll keep writing as long as people are reading! If you haven’t liked us yet, you can use the link in the sidebar on the right!

Help Your Kids Learn Chinese

I know the number of foreign families in Hohhot is small, and those of us with both parents being non-Chinese is even smaller. But for the few of us, helping our kids learn Chinese is more difficult than we imagined it would be. Living here they don’t “just pick it up” and our oldest daughter especially has been reluctant to attempt to use Chinese.

Recently, we’ve been letting our girls watch these videos on youtube made by Sesame Street and they’ve responded better to them than to anything else we’ve tried.

Maybe all you other parents thought to search on youtube long ago for resources for kids to learn Chinese, but I hadn’t thought of it until recently. There were other options, but the Sesame Street ones have worked the best for us so far.

What methods have you tried to help your kids learn Chinese? Are they going to local school? Do you have a private tutor? What’s working and what’s not?

 

 

Skiing in Inner Mongolia

Today’s post comes at a reader’s request via email. Here’s what I know about ski resorts in Inner Mongolia. It’s not much so please leave a comment if you have additional information.

Da Qing Shan Tai Wei Golf Resort

Golf, Skiing and Giant Luxury Single Family Homes (clearly, the subtitle is of my own rendering)

Located north of Hohhot this resort has one slope. They operate the ski slope in the winter months and the golf course in the summer months.

You can follow their wechat account at:  nmgtw_djc

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ski slope

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luxury homes

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reception/hotel/activity center

 

If you want to get out of Hohhot, Chifeng is home to a large ski resort called Mei Lin Valley (My Lin Valley). Their website appears to be down, but you can follow them on wechat at: mylin_valley. I’ve never been there, but it’s rumored to be Asia’s largest ski resort.

You can get information by phone at:   0476-3962888

 

Have you been skiing in Hohhot? In China? Tell us about it in the comments.

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