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Hohhot, Inner Mongolia’s 'blue Sky City'

By Bruce Connolly | | Updated: 2018-09-13 08:45
Road scenes near Xilamuren 1997 [Photo by Bruce Connolly/]

Bee keepers looked after buzzing hives located where purple and blue flowers added color to the terrain. Shepherds on horseback rode alongside as the road leveled out onto a plateau encompassing a deep feeling of "Big Sky Country". A small town, Wulantuge, acted as gateway to the Xilamuren Grasslands. Groups of yurts again crowded the roadside with locals trying to entice visitors to stay. Even then, in 1997, tourism was seen as vital for the local economy. In one yurt I sampled milk tea, and "chao mi" or baked yellow rice mixed with butter and sugar. Walking around, I watched how people still would travel by horseback but for many younger people, the motorcycle had become the desired form of local transport.

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