Wuyingga’s home is dozens of kilometers away from Qizhen, and its name is “Benghong Gaole Gacha”, which means “sacrificing river settlements” in Mongolian. I didn’t see the river here, but later I held the rare spring water in my hand.
The pastoral area here is even wider than the Taipusi Banner, and the pasture is bigger. Two or three herdsmen are next to each other, and there are only neighbors far away.
The desertification of the grassland here is relatively serious, and the degree of green is thinner and much more desolate than the place we just left.
Similarly, the herdsman and even primitive flavor here is much thicker. All Wuyingga’s family came out to welcome us enthusiastically, but only Wuyingga was fluent in Chinese because he often had performance work in Wulan Muqi. We could only answer with smiling faces and do some basic communication with gestures.
There is no fence outside their house, I think it is really a large area and sparsely populated without boundaries.
The cow and sheep dung piles are on the left front side of the house (the shepherds I observed later basically put the cow and sheep dung piles on the left front of the house), and their horses are tied far in front of them.
The house is not big and there is no running water. They still need to go outside to fetch water regularly, so there is a water storage tank on the tractor at the door, and the solar water heater is on the ground next to it, not on the roof.
The interior of the house basically has three rooms with one entrance, and a large room with heated Kang on the left and right, which is also used as a meeting room and a bedroom. The middle is divided into two entrances. This night we slept on the kang on the east side.
The traditional houses of the Mongolians do not have toilets, wash at the door, and go to the toilet by yourself to go far away for your convenience. Although a little uncomfortable, I am very happy to have the opportunity to live in the shepherd’s house like this.
The openness in front of the door
Shepherd’s house and water cart
The middle compartment of the house and the kitchen inside
The vast grassy beach and the horses in front of the door can be seen outside the bedroom window
Cow and sheep dung piles and clothes to dry
Wuyingga’s mother-in-law can’t speak Chinese, but she repeatedly told us to eat more. Sitting on the kang at home, eating their own mutton meat, milk tofu milked by the mother-in-law, self-fermented jacuzzi mixed with fried rice, meatball dumplings made by myself, and milk tea for us to drink , that warm and gentle energy is really a bit like the hospitality of the Mongolian steppe people I read in the book.
The hand-cooked meat cooked by the herdsmen is harder than what I have eaten these days, chewing and swallowing whole, in fact, it is very laborious for us to eat.
The juke from the herdsmen’s house in Benghonggaole Gacha is yellower and richer than the ones I ate in Bao Enben and Baochang Town, and the sour taste seems to be less obvious than the former. Wu Yingga said that Juke is the top grade of dairy products, and the hospitality is often a big bowl of Juke fried rice, which is fragrant and filling, so as not to lose the sincerity of the owner.
The milk tea at the herdsmen’s house is still different from the one in the teahouse. It is probably because the jakke they make is different, and the milk tea is also yellower. Because Wu Yingga told me that milk tea should be mixed with an appropriate amount of jacuzzi to increase the taste.
This is the daily meal of herdsmen, meat, tea, fried rice, the types are the same as Taipusi Banner.
We came to the cattle and sheep pen. Most of the livestock had been grazed in the early morning, and only the young animals and the nursing ewes stayed at home.
These young animals are not afraid of people and obviously know the mother-in-law who often cares for them. While we were talking, a few lambs that were several weeks old gently gathered around the mother-in-law’s feet. The scene was very moving. Thinking that we had seen enough, the mother-in-law yelled a few lambs back to the sheepfold.
In the livestock pens of herdsmen, cattle are usually outside and sheep are inside. The soil in the circle is loose and clean, with a strong smell of cattle and sheep.
This calf is only one month old
Seeing the father-in-law of the family working in the cellar in front of the door, we approached, and a strong fermented sour smell came up. This is about the forage that the herdsmen had stored last autumn, and it was kept in the cellar for natural fermentation, and it will be used as supplementary forage for livestock before the forage grows fully in the coming year.
I rode a Mongolian horse again. The horses here are different from the horses that are often ridden by guests at the rainbow gate of Yuanshang. They are obviously wilder and more alert to the backs of strangers. I am actually very nervous when running.
Mongolian horses are not big in stature, but their strength and endurance are astonishing, and they can adapt to the bitter cold life. Therefore, it is said that Genghis Khan won the world on horseback, and the Mongolian horses contributed a lot.
Washed hastily in the morning, drank milk tea and went out with Wu Yingga to find water!
This beautiful and enthusiastic Mongolian girl is going to take us to the holy water spring. On the endless grassland with no signposts, if there is no local person to lead the way, we probably will never find this magical spring without landmarks or any navigation routes.
“We locals come here for leg pains and headaches. Just take this cold water and wipe it, and it will be much better. My mother-in-law will fetch water when her legs hurt and wipe it for a few days. There are also stomach problems. If you are sick, drinking this water will cause you to have diarrhea immediately, and then it seems that you have discharged the bad things, and your body will feel better. If you are not sick, you will not have any reaction after drinking it! Really!”
The spring is located in the vast dry grassland surrounded by several white stone railings, and the sound of gurgling water can be heard under the stone slabs.
“This is flowing every day. It’s so cold in winter that it won’t freeze! But it doesn’t taste so good, and it’s a bit hard to swallow.”
We specially brought a cup and filled it with water to drink. It was cool and had a metallic and salty taste. Sure enough, we could see many small blisters, like carbonated water. When drinking it, there was obvious gas.
Fortunately… everyone’s stomachs are good, and they didn’t lose their stomachs immediately, otherwise it would be quite embarrassing to have nothing to hide.
There is an Obo near the holy water spring, which is estimated to be built for the spring. We walked against the light, the wind blows the pasture, and there is a distant and desolate beauty.
Finally, we bought a bottle of spring water and took it away. Later, as Wuyingga said, “this qi will go away slowly, and it will be useless to drink it the next day.”
The holy water spring is in this grassland, just turn around.
The spring water is surrounded by white stone railings and is self-contained
Obo near the Holy Water Spring
For some reason, this grassland has a light golden color, which is very beautiful. I asked Wu Yingga, but she couldn’t explain clearly in Chinese. I guess it’s because the local people’s names for the types or characteristics of grass are difficult to accurately translate into Chinese.
The way back was a bit empty and long, and sometimes I wondered how they would adapt to the life of not seeing a single person for half a day or a day? Miss Uyinga told me that they live in peace and still believe in shamanism. Her husband, a very handsome Mongolian boy in her mobile phone photo, earns money in Rasha in other places. She takes her son to live with her mother-in-law. When her son is older, she wants to go back to Ulan Muqi. She likes to sing and dance , the kind of life performed around the campfire.
When we left, we had to leave some money at will, but they would not accept it anyway, saying that friends came to eat meat and tea, which is a matter of course! We were moved and had no choice but to give them some snacks, drinks, and children’s toys that could be left in the car. This kind of experience is the most precious thing in our travels.
Back in the town of New Paulag, we walked around and bought some delicious dairy products. Many shopkeepers can’t fully communicate in Chinese, so they don’t know what they are eating. The town is very clean. Although there are many shops, it does not have the lively feeling of the town in Taipusi Banner. It is no wonder that the population of Xinbaolage is only one tenth of that of Baochang.
Wuyingga’s son, a lovely Mongolian baby
The streets of New Paulag, with few pedestrians
I don’t know what it is, let’s call it milk roll, it’s delicious, especially for children.
All the way back, the scenery is still magnificent. Stop when you need to, and walk when you want, the rhythm is all in your own feelings.
Recalling this journey, from the inn under the green hills of Taipusi Banner, the small wild flowers in early summer and the sheep on the hills, all the way was formed by fate, to the food of the herdsmen’s house in Xianghuang Banner, the lonely spring water, the desolate and boundless pasture, all kinds of things The taste swirls and evaporates, but it doesn’t go away. Since then, I have a deep feeling for the grassland.
wildflowers in meadow
Beng Hong Gaole Gacha shepherd’s house meal
Holy water spring with yellow flag
Slightly arid boundless pasture