Thomas the Lamb and the Bashang Grasslands

5 10 2010

It’s National Holiday here in China, commemorating the founding of the glorious party 61 long years ago. And as such, we got an entire week off from work to cavort around China. For the last four days, together with Lucy Brady, Christian Nordby, and his lovely girlfriend Camille, we braved the weather and traversed the Bashang Grasslands in Hebei Province. A mere five hours away from Beijing, the grasslands sit way high up in the mountains at proper elevation, which means sweeping winds and cold cold weather. But it’s realllll gorgeous like.

We spent our time exploring the steppe through varied means. I had never ridden on a galloping horse before this, but can see why people get so attached to the animal. Riding ATV’s at 50 mph up a scaling mountain is a trip. Freezing your ass off in Chinese bought “waterproof” jackets on top of said mountain…

The face of near death. Yeah, it was real cold. And being out in the country in China means no heating whatsoever. In the house, in your room, etc. Below freezing temperatures in the evening means sleeping with your clothes on with 4 comforters above you. But the farmer’s family that we stayed with was more than pleasant. I guess absolutely lovely would be appropriate. We ate every meal in their kitchen area, with dishes being cooked to what we…felt like eating that day. And we’re talking down and dirty country cooking. Every culture has some variation of a stewed (meat) with potatoes, but this might’ve been the best stewed chicken(meat) and potatoes dish I’ve ever had in my life. Oh, and they slaughtered a baby lamb for us. Because I’m a considerate soul, the picture is linked below. Mind you, it was by far the most humane way an animal could be killed, and the next two days were spent eating every part of the lamb. Meat, innards, blood and all. It really doesn’t get anymore organic. Couple that with some good yak milk liquor, and you’ve got yourself a hell of a good evening.

LAMB KILL=SLIGHTLY GRAPHIC

Anyway, 4 days and 3 nights later, we had to say goodbye to our Hebei family and head homewards to Beijing. It was just one of those spontaneously fortunate trips that just happens to work itself out in the best way possible. I’m currently in Tianjin right now for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, and then leaving for Shanghai tomorrow night to visit family. Updates galore to come. Until next time.

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