Inner Mongolia: Where She Wasn’t

My trip to Inner Mongolia was actually a mistake, this was slightly due to my poor planning and lack of geology knowledge. However, after some research and finding out that it would take longer than I thought to get a visa to go to Mongolia to visit her, I figured Inner Mongolia was the closest thing for now. I don’t think I ever got to thank my parents for going on this impulsive trip with me, even though it ended up not being the correct location, it really meant a lot that they stuck through it with me.

Going through this trip and all those locations made me constantly think of her, even though this wasn’t where she grew up, it was pretty close. I embraced the culture and enjoyed my time there, despite the mix up. Inner Mongolia actually felt a lot like China, asides from the desert and grasslands. The Kubuqi desert was truly something else. It was my first time being near this monstrosity amount of sand. With our little plastic bags wrapped around our shoes, we trotted along the cushiony hills. My first camel ride was half exciting and half frightening as I rebelled against the instructions to keep my hands on the handle attached to the camel and tried to capture the beautiful view with both my hands on the camera.

So it was no surprise that one of the Mongolian delicacies was their many ways of cooking lamb, and that’s half the reason why I was ecstatic to go to Mongolia because I love lamb. I love lamb. I had to repeat it to emphasize how much I love lamb. Okay, I digress, near the end of the trip though, I could’ve sworn just the mere thought of the taste of lamb made me shiver just a bit. Having too much of something is definitely never a good thing.

When I say I’ve never seen anywhere that looked as much like a painting as the Xilamuren grasslands did in Mongolia, I wasn’t joking. Standing at the edges of the scenery made me feel like I was living in a realist painting. Especially when the wind would gently caress against the grass swaying them back and forth, it felt like even time has slowed down for us to take in the view. I remember closing my eyes and just inhaling that feeling of peace and quiet. In comparison to the forever glistening city lights back home, this view took my breath away.

Lastly, one of the most memorable experiences in Inner Mongolia was sleeping in a yurt. There was minimal hot water and air conditioning, making me feel closer to nature than I’ve ever been (I’m really not a camper). It was one of the most relaxing parts of the trip as I would just sit by the opening of the yurt, read my book, and soak in the sun.

Though I never got to say goodbye to her as she wasn’t in Inner Mongolia, it still felt like some sort of closure. It was one step closer to accepting what needed to be accepted, and at that point, it was good enough for me.

In memory of her.

[All images are my own]

Claudia Cheung