Archive for Hohhot weather

Friday’s foreigner: Fabio

Well, another week has come and gone. That means it’s time for our next edition of Friday’s foreigner. A few weeks ago you met Pedro. This week, meet his coworker and fellow countryman, Fabio.

Check out our previous interviews here, and check back next week to meet someone else!


What’s your name, where are you from, what brought you to Hohhot and when did you arrive?

My name is Fábio Castro, I’m from Portugal and I arrived in Hohhot on the 19th of October to work as football coach for the Luís Figo Football Academy. For those who don’t know him, Figo is a famous ex-football player from Portugal and won the “Ballon d’Or” in 2000 and was considered the best player in the world by the FIFA in 2001.



If you are doing something different now than when you first arrived tell us about that also.

When I arrived in China I passed one month working in Beijing for the same academy, we have centers in different cities of the country.


What have been some of your professional successes in your industry?

I played as a amateur level football player and soon I realized I would like to become a football coach. Because of that, I decided to go to the university to prepare myself for this role. I made my graduation in Sport, one master degree in Physical Education and another one in High Performance Training, with football option. Besides that, I made my coach’s licenses to be able to work.

Until now, I worked with all the age groups and I had a short experience working in India. It was a fantastic experience that I will never forget.


Share with us some of the moments you were proudest of your students/players.

I don’t have specific moments, what I have are many memories from all the places I worked, the words from some of my players, special moments that only the football can give us. Those who have had the experience to share time with a team can understand my words.


If you have free time, what do you do with it?

I like to do different things during my free time, however, once I still don’t know very well the city I’m going to the cinema, I’m eating at some occidental/Asiatic restaurants, exploring the city, meeting some cultural places and I’m going to the gym.


Tell us something about your pre-Hohhot life that most people here don’t know.

As I told, before come to China I worked in India. Before India, I was working in Portugal as Physical Education Teacher and as football coach.


Favorite local food and where you like to get it:

As local food, I tried the lamb and I really have to admit that the leg is good. Besides that, I like to try different kinds of food as the noodles, the barbecue, the hot pot, the dumplings… I also ate Japanese food here and was really good too. The names of the restaurants I don’t know them and I like to try different ones.


If you could make one city-wide change to Hohhot, what would it be?

I would like that the Chinese could respect more the traffic rules and especially the places for the bikes, once I drive one electric bike and most of the times the cars don’t care about anything. But what I really would like to have here it was a beach, even if it was artificial! I like to walk near of the beach and relax at some bar in there too. I’m missing that from my country!


What has been the most surprising aspect of life here?

I knew a little bit about the Chinese culture and their traditions, however I wasn’t expecting as much cold as I felt here. I never passed by situations with these temperatures in my life and getting used to that was surprising for me.


What’s the most culturally awkward situation you’ve been in here?

One day I was on the taxi and I saw one person burn some money on the streets. After some time, I understood that wasn’t just one person but many people doing that and I asked what meant and the reason for many people have done small fires in the streets. The answer was that they were sending money for the dead people, usually for family and the money was fake. I never saw something like that…


What advice would you give to someone just arriving to Hohhot?

If the person knows another cities of China I would say to be prepared for a more quiet place and consequently, maybe a quiet routine too. And of course I would advise to bring warm clothes!!


Where do you go to “escape?”

Once I’m here for four months and once the weather is cold, I didn’t find yet that place. If I had a beach, definitely I would go there. As I don’t have I will try to find it for sure and until there, a ride on my bike with good weather should be good and enough for me.


When your time here is done and you return home, what do you want to take with you?

Certainly memoirs, new experiences, funny moments and once that I will start to learn Chinese language I want take that with me.


You can connect with Fabio in any of the following ways:



WeChat: fabiocastro5


If you’re interested in more information about Winning League Football Academy call 13171090089 or 13304712425.

Friday’s Foreigner: Steven

Hello, Hohhotians. (A scholarly book I read about Hohhot used that word, so I’m going with it) What’s with the air here today?? pollution or sandstorm? I hope you are inside with your air filters on.

Here’s some reading for you if you’re passing the time

This week I’d like to introduce you to Steven, the voice behind the podcast The Culture Bum. Check out his site and subscribe to listen. He’s also guest posted for us here before, so check out his review of the Wanda area here. 

Check out our previous interviews here, and check back next week to meet someone else!

I moved to China in 2014 to be a teacher and just kind of see the world. I landed in Beijing and hated it immediately. The pollution left me sick all the time and I hated the massive amount of Westerners using Beijing as their own personal bragging right. I met a beautiful woman while there and she was moving back to her home city, Hohhot, and suggested I go with her. I found a lot of job opportunities and figured why not. I am still a teacher but I have bounced my title around.
Tell us something about your pre-Hohhot life we may not already know.
Before moving to Hohhot I was a teacher of several years in the US so I don’t feel like I fall into the “couldn’t find a real job” camp that often plagues ESL teachers. HOWEVER, the year and a half before moving to China I was a taxi driver. Budget cuts had led to a lot of my teaching opportunities drying up and what was supposed to be a 3 month ordeal turned into a full time job. I don’t hate my time driving A taxi, it was actually one of the more fun jobs I’ve ever held, but it is a go nowhere type of situation.
Favorite local food and where you like to get it:
I wish I had better answers but my favorite Chinese dishes fall into 2 categories: Something so simple I can make it at home (rice with mu er and spring onion) or horrible greasy unhealthy messes (chow mian or malatang).
It’s impossible to live in Hohhot and not go out to Hot Pot at least once a month.
I recently spent time in Datong which is famous for its noodles and I did get a little hooked on rice noodles with vinegar for a while.
If you could make one city-wide change to Hohhot, what would it be?
Compared to most foreigners I don’t have that many complaints about Hohhot. I do wish there were clean places to do outdoor swimming.
I’m surprised there aren’t easier ways to get to the airport on public transportation.
Most foreigners will complain about a lack of cultural events compared to bigger cities but I chalk that up to just not a lot of foreigners in the city so when we do a “foreigner” themed event your lucky if 12 people show up.
What has been the most surprising aspect of life here?
Being able to slow down. In America I was very used to 60-80 hours a week and in Beijing you usually have 30-60 minute commutes to work each way. Hohhot provides me a comparable salary to Beijing but so much more free time. I work 30 hours a week, every week, never a minute more and my commute is less than 20 minutes by bus or bike. I am able to relax, walk around and take my time without ever feeling I’m in a rush.
What makes Hohhot more appealing than other cities?
Some foreigners in Hohhot tend to act like they’re in purgatory, but these are the people who complain no matter what. There are a lot of people who see Hohhot as a slower, more manageable pace of life, much larger opportunities to save money, a more Asian cultural experience away from being over run by Western food on every corner and a chance to see the Mongolian culture that is usually out of peoples minds.
What’s the funniest thing you’ve experienced here?
Donkeys pulling carts next to the traffic is a bit odd even after everything else I’ve seen.
donkey cart audi

donkey cart and Audi dealership

What is the kindest thing a local has ever done for you?
When I first got here I did not work for about 2 weeks so I sat at home very bored while my future wife went to work. I eventually demanded to go outside and do something. She would set me up like a kindergartner with notes and maps to get to various places in town like a super market. On my first trip I had to make one turn to the super market and I managed to screw that up but the first person I asked for help, a very elderly woman on her way home with a large bag of groceries, walked about at least 1 Km out of her way to walk me to the super market and make sure I got there. This was a very big change of pace from Beijing.
Where do you go to “escape?”
I have a few Western friends who are very close and we like to go to 7 Pizza Bar or Yummy Box and disappear. In the Summer I took a few hikes to the mountains where it was easy to pretend you were in Michigan. Right now with the NFL starting me and a few friends download the games and beer makes the rest of the world go dark.
When your time here is done and you return home, what do you want to take with you?
I would take back the idea that you don’t have to work yourself to death and live in constant jealousy. I enjoy my lazy life so much in Asia. I am not hung up on material things and I value the experiences and comfort afforded here not to mention my very high proportional salary.
I’m here for the long haul! I see Hohhot as an opportunity and not a curse. Every day there are more people and in the coming years I see Hohhot as a cultural hot bed of foreign students, grassland people moving in to occupy the hundreds of apartment complexes being built and I’ll be here for years to come.

Hohhot made CCTV’s facebook page

You can check out this video of police nabbing a thief. The video is complete with dramatic music and everything.

You can follow CCTV on facebook for news all over China.


What do you think about the video? Have you been pick-pocketed? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.


Also, happy Li Chun!

I’m not exactly sure what that means, but it’s today and I think it is the first day of spring according to the lunar calendar. If that’s correct, the lunar calendar and I disagree about the meaning of spring.



weekend news

I feel like there are two main news events from the weekend.

First, traffic was even more horrendous than normal yesterday, that is, if you were trying to go anywhere that involved driving on or crossing Xin Hua. It took James one hour each way to go somewhere that normally take about 20 minutes. (Also 72 RMB instead of about 35).

Both taxi drivers told James there was some kind of meeting of government leaders so they closed Xinhua during the duration of the meetings.

The other big news is that it’s COLD. Some are saying it’s the coldest winter in 30 years. I’m not sure if that’s true, but below are two articles about the cold.
This one is pictures from all around northern China this winter.


This one is about six items to make the cold more bearable.


What advice do you have about staying warm? How do you handle Hohhot’s long, cold winters? Do you think this really is the coldest winter in 30 years?



today’s big news

If your wechat moments is anything like mine every other post today is about the air quality in Hohhot today. It’s pretty scary out there, folks.

HH pollution 15-11-29

I have no idea about cause of such unusually high levels of pollution. Ideas, facts, theories, anyone?
Leave us a comment. Until then…wear your masks and keep your air filters running.

Da Qing Shan Tai Wei Ski Area

All you need to know about the 2015-2016 Ski Season is right here!


This could be you!

The slopes at Da Qing Shan Tai Wei Ski Area open on November 28th!


map of the slopes


Skiing at Da Qing Shan Tai Wei Ski Area

Da Qing Shan Tai Wei Ski Area is located north of Hohhot on highway S101. See this map:

map to tai wei

the green area near the arrow is the ski and golf resort


Here is the price list for the 2015-2016 season:

Da Qing Shan Tai Wei Ski and Golf Resort Skiing Prices

If the image doesn’t display correctly, use this link: Da Qing Shan Tai Wei Ski and Golf Resort Skiing Prices



snow sledding




ski lift



You can follow the public account on wechat for information about skiing at wechat ID: twhxjlb and for information about their other activities at wechat ID: nmgtw_djc.


If you need service in English, contact Sanny at 13674814130.


Get a group of your friends together and make some cool memories!



Shuttle service is provided from Inner Mongolia Exhibition Center to Tai Wei at 9:30 am, 11:30 am, and 3:00 pm.
Shuttle service is provided from Tai Wei to Inner Mongolia Exhibition Center at 10:30 am, 2:00 pm, and 5:30 pm.


Inner Mongolia Exhibition Center is located on the south side of Xinhua Road, east of City Mall (Mo Er Cheng)


*photos are property of Da Qing Shan Tai Wei Golf and Skiing Marketing Department, used with permission



Hohhot’s Air Quality

See how Hohhot’s Air Quality compared to other Chinese cities in the first half of 2015.The full article is below, but the place names are in Chinese so I’ve listed the factors relating to Hohhot and Inner Mongolia here.
The first list is the provinces/ARs of China listed in order from worst to cleanest air. Inner Mongolia is number 24 of 31 total, making us in the top third.

Next is a list of Inner Mongolia’s leagues and how they rank, again from worst to best. Here’s the list:

  1. Tongliao
  2. Wuhai
  3. Baotou
  4. Bayinnor
  5. Wulanchab
  6. Chifeng
  7. Hulunbeir
  8. Alxa
  9. Xingan
  10. Hohhot
  11. Ordos
  12. Xilingol

(Please note there are alternate spellings for most of these places).


And once again, there are much worse places to live in China than in Hohhot.

The article ends with beautiful pictures and the bright blue skies of Inner Mongolia. 🙂


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hail in July

I’ve seen a lot of crazy weather in Hohhot, but I’ve never seen hail in July. I actually still haven’t since we’re not in town right now. But, the hail shower pictures, videos, and laments of dented cars were the main topic of wechat yesterday.


I think the hail is especially unusual because we’re technically in “san fu tian” which are the hottest days of summer according to the lunar calendar and traditional beliefs. This year the “dog days of summer” fall between July 13 and August 22, which is 10 days longer than the usual 30 days.

I guess Hohhot’s hailstorm didn’t get the message.

What a day!

  1. If you have public heating, it probably turned off today. Hope you’re staying warm.
  2. There was an earthquake in Alxa today, but apparently could be felt in Hohhot. We didn’t feel it at our house. Who felt it?   Here’s an article about it.

  3. THE WIND! Oh my, the wind. I m glad today that my primary role is that of stay-at-home-mom so that I didn’t have to get out.
  4. I think most of the north side of the city was without water for most of the day. (Ours still hasn’t turned back on). I know near Gong Da, Meng Zhuan, Tuan Jie Xiao Qu, and Ming Du Feng Jing Xiao Qu were all affected, and I assume the areas between them were too. I’ve heard reports of power being out for part of the day too.
  5. I’m slowly working on getting all the broken links fixed and getting the photos to display. By the end of the day we should also have a new forum up. (Here’s to hoping that this one will display correctly)!
  6. The air quality number for today is the highest (worst) I’ve ever seen. If you have an air purifier, today would be a good day to put it to use.

That’s all the news I know. What’s happening in your part of the city?

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