Kang Bashi ghost city – does that mean there are ghosts there?
“Would you like to go to Kang Bashi ghost city?” That’s the question we were asked by one of the CTs, Sophia, yesterday. David, Luke and I decided that wold be a fine way to spend an afternoon and having no other plans, we would be happy to set off on an 80RMB taxi ride with Sophia to get there (£8, so only £2 each). Sophia was working at Arbu until lunch, so we headed to my (now) local restaurant for some lunch before we set off to Kang Bashi.
Obviously, the answer to the above question is no. Kang Bashi is a ghost city because it’s been built for people, yet hardly any people have moved their yet. Still, even knowing this we were still pretty surprised when we arrived at how open and empty the city seemed to be. There were some amazing sights within the city though, including these fabulously large statues of horses:
Compared to all of the building work going on in Ordos at the moment, Kang Bashi ghost city is practically finished. The taxi driver dropped us off at a large square, opposite some government buildings and near some rather large statues. The first one is of the ‘Mother of the Grasslands’ apparently, and I think the second is of Ghengis Khan, but we weren’t exactly sure. We headed further into the city to find loads of flower beds (David was randomly excited by these) and also some very strange looking buildings. The first looked vaguely like the Welsh Assembly, crossed with the Sage, but we didn’t know what it was going to be used for. The second one we saw was a theatre/opera house. This apparently looks like a Mongolian hat, but having not seen a Mongolian hat, I can only take Sophia’s word for it!
The third building was a blue affair, and would also probably not look out of place in the UK. It housed an exhibition about minority groups in China and Inner Mongolia so we had a look around. There were many different costumes and outfits to look at, some very sparkly and some very plain but all very interesting and very different from each other in the slightest of ways.
We spent about 45 minutes in the exhibition before going on a further wander through the city. By this time we were thinking about heading home and we had a choice, either get the bus or a taxi back. We thought we would try the bus, however we could not find the stop for the one back to Ordos! Instead we managed to nab a taxi, though I’m still not sure how as it was pretty deserted of taxis. This was not before I managed to see penguins in China. The Chinese seem very fond of decorating their towns (the aforementioned flower beds) and we came across a penguin made out of plants. I was over excited by this fact of course, but there you go.
Having got back to Ordos, Sophia told us that it was National Dumpling Day, or something similar. This was something to do with the fact that September 12th was a national holiday in China, Mid-Autumn festival, which is because it was a full moon. All Chinese holidays revolve around the moon. We had been given moon cake by the CTs, which is a traditional festival food. It’s a kind of sweet mince pie, but very different to what we call mince pies. It has spices in it and I’m not sure I’m keen on it, but with the amount we have in the house I know I’m going to have to grow to like them! Back to dumpling day, we stopped at a shop to get some, which I was more than happy about, as I really like them anyway. We spent the rest of the evening playing various card games including Poker and Chicago, my new favourite game as it seemed like I kept winning.
It was a really good day and I’m looking forward to foraying into other cities soon too. We have a few days off at the beginning of October, for National Day and I think we’re planning to head to Beijing and do some of the wall. Hopefully we’ll know more this week about hours that week, so the three of us can start planning.
This week has been the first week that we’ve had properly off. I finally managed to find time to speak to everyone back home on Sunday night, as up until that point, I had had little time to think about anything other than work and being in China, which can only be a good thing. We had a bit of a lazy day yesterday, recovering from the weekend of teaching. I was also enjoying the break from getting static shocks form everything I touch. I seem to get one from everything I touch, including a poor student on Saturday evening when I was passing them a card in another game of Go Fish! I just clearly have an electric personality … tumbleweed…