And the sun rose on Erlian.
And on us.
We woke up and looked out the windows of our hotel room.
Erlian is a pretty damn boring place, sad to say.
Honesty is the best policy, right?
As we got up, we decided to try the buffet breakfast, which was included in our hotel stay, we were pretty worried that it would be all meat and eggs.
Erlian is on the Mongolian border and Mongolia is a serious meat eating country.
We were pleasantly surprised since there was a decent amount of vegetarian options, although no fruit, and we ate up our food and decided to walk around Erlian and get some pictures of the people and the place.
There is one thing Jill and I love about China and that is the doggies. As you know, if you follow this blog, we love the dogs and take a lot of pictures of them. The dogs here seemed to be somewhat skittish, and we are guessing they are not treated as well as the dogs in Beijing, and they looked more like they were homeless.
Jill and I really enjoyed the Mongolia script for their language and how the signs were in Chinese, Mongolian and Russian in many places.
I had no idea that so many Russians would be near this area, but since it is part of the Trans-Siberian Railway, it makes sense for the signs to have all three languages written out.
After walking around for a bit, we went back to our rooms to get ready as we were meeting Diana at 9 am to start the border crossing journey.
Jill took the first shower and stepped out of it into a puddle of water.
The shower wasn’t built quite right so the water from it drained out into the bathroom. There is a drain, under the sink, for the water to drain into as a back up but the floor was tilted towards the toilet so that didn’t help at all. I took my shower and we basically were walking in water whenever we went into the bathroom again. It flat out didn’t drain at all.
Other than that, our stay at the hotel was fine and we would stay there again if we need to go to Erlian on another trip. I guess that is about the best review I could give it. In fact, I basically gave that review on Tripadvisor the next day.
As we would be returning to Beijing this afternoon, we checked out of our hotel, which cost us about 40 USD for the night, and waited for our driver, Diana. We had no idea what she looked like and we had chatted, briefly, on WeChat a week before to make sure she had space for us.
A nice SUV drove up and his very cute and perky woman of about 35 showed up and said, “Hi!” to us. We jumped in her car and she started playing American music on the radio and singing. She was friendly and smiled a lot as we drove to our first destination.
Jill and I didn’t really have a clue what would happen. Our friend, Moeava, telling us that she’s the best and she’ll take us on some errands during our trip. We were looking forward to seeing what would happen and a tiny bit apprehensive.
We ended up driving to a big parking lot with lots of other jeeps and trucks with people waiting around. This is where most the other visa run people meet and haggle for the lowest price to go over the border and back.
Three other people, including a 50 year old mother and her 25 year old daughter, got in. The mother and daughter couple were from Mongolia, originally, and now live in Beijing. They have to make this run every 30 days to be able to stay in China. This gives you an idea of how much more they are paid in Beijing compared to Mongolia and why there aren’t a lot of people that choose to stay in Mongolia if they can work elsewhere.
The mother and daughter both spoke English and were very nice. The other guy didn’t speak English but did speak Mongolian and they all talked among each other.
As we drove around, Diana did some of her errands and picked up, or dropped off, stuff that she had picked up in Mongolia.
She told us she does this run 4-5 times a day and usually takes about 4-5 people. We paid about 25 bucks each, for our run, and if you add this up, that is a serious amount of cash just to take people back and forth across the border each day, especially in Northern China or Mongolia.