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Hohhot, Inner Mongolia’s 'blue Sky City'

By Bruce Connolly | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-09-13 08:45
Changing the bogies. Erenhot, 1987 [Photo by Bruce Connolly/chinadaily.com.cn]

In China, a nation encompassing several of the world’s largest cities, my first footprint was at Erenhot, a desert town of under 8,000 people. It was July 1987. I had crossed the border by train, which had halted at Erenhot for almost three hours, not just for entry formalities but also for "changing the wheels"! Mongolia’s rail lines are 1.52 mm wide compared to China’s 1.43 mm standard gauge. My first memorable China moment was being invited underneath the train to observe the bogies being manually swapped. Departing toward Beijing after midnight I unfortunately saw nothing of the onward journey through Inner Mongolia before reaching Datong in Shanxi.

  
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