Tie a Yellow Ribbon? Nope. . . It’s Usually Blue in Mongolia

Our October, 2018 National Week holiday trip to Inner Mongolia included a visit to a temple in HohHot (pronounced: ho huh hot). It differed from the more traditional Chinese temples south into the main part of China. Here, the locals tend to bring brightly colored (especially blue) cloth to leave behind as a sign they want their wishes to come true.  

It is always fun to see couples in traditional dress.

This sweet lady came up to us begging for money. Many of the handicapped there do not have wheelchairs so they sit on rollers to get around.

American Football Fun for China Students

Laraine decided to let Chuck come and teach one of her classes about football. “Real” football — you know, not the one the rest of the world plays! What better way to understand America than to participate in one of our most important sports? The goal was to help students to understand the game well enough they could take part in conversations with American citizens and have some degree of comfort about discussing football. We started in the classroom and then went outside. The students thought it was great fun.

We started in the classroom so Chuck could explain the rules of the game and decide positions. Have you ever tried to explain football to someone who has no idea about it? It’s a VERY complicated game. For instance, there are 5 ways to score points!  Points in football can be 1, 2, 3 or 6 points. (There are two ways to score 2 points). No wonder the world thinks it’s so complicated! We divided the class into two teams and gave them an instruction to choose a fierce animal as a team name. The names they came up with were: Bats and Dragons. Yup, this is definitely China.

A huddle is just a meeting where you laugh and try to figure out what’s happening in the game.

We then went outside on the grass so they could practice doing it. They were very reluctant to come up to the line of scrimmage. We had to keep moving them forward. Concerned for their safety, Chuck kept telling them to do the plays in slow motion. Eventually, it got to full speed, especially with some of  the more athletic kids. We declared it a success because there were no broken bones. Chuck needed a whistle!

 

Genghis Khan–Up Close and Personal

Genghis Khan–Up Close and Personal

We had the opportunity to visit the monument for Genghis Khan. He was the founder of the great Mongol Empire, which compared to anything else in world history, was the most far-reaching contiguous empire.

Here we are standing in front of his mausoleum. No one knows where his body actually lies because he did not want his body buried in a marked grave. He is revered all over Mongolia (Inner and Outer), and there are statues and shrines of him everywhere. He was the first “Khan” (ruler or king), and other Khans came after him. He was born in 1162 AD as “Temujin.”

 

This is a statue of him even though there is no painting of him. He never wanted his portrait painted. They based the likeness of the figure in this statue on what his grandfather looked like. Temujin (Genghis Khan) had an interesting, yet troubled life. At the age of 9 he was betrothed to a young girl and was taken to live with her family until he could marry her at age 12. Later in life, his wife was kidnapped and carried away to a distant land. He prayed for three days about what to do. He eventually rescued her in a very bold, military move and was reunited with her. Genghis Khan lived in a brutal age and was a man true to his times, yet he had a spiritual side. He wanted all to have the freedom to practice their religion.

 

This is a worship area that is supposed to be for men only. Visiting women are told to go shopping while the men walked around this area in order to gain super power. The blue banners and cloth are all over Mongolia. You make a request for blessings and then tie a blue scarf at the shrine for it to come to pass.

Based on the English translation of this sign, would you know what to do? In essence, it is saying: “Traditionally, women do not enter here, out of respect for themselves and tradition. But we understand tourists don’t have the same beliefs, so consider this a suggestion only.”  The women didn’t mind having time to shop. And the men came back so very powerful!

We so much wanted to correct their signage.

If you were to spend your lifetime correcting every sign in China and Mongolia, you would not get out of one small town, and you would not cover even a tiny fraction of the need.

On the way back to HohHot we stopped to see these massive statues that were on the grounds of a government building. This is just one of several in the same area.