Wednesday, April 8, 2009

At the China-Mongolia Border: Erlian

I am a great fan of Asian border towns, so I was glad to spend a long day in Erlian, China (aka. Erenhot). Why the 12 hour layover? There were no excuses for 10 of these hours, but the other 2 were justified by the changing of the bogies (wheel assemblies) from the Chinese standard gauge to the Russian and Mongolian broad gauge ones. I am a mechanical simpleton, so the most that I can say (with the help of Wikipedia) is that gauge is the width between the rails.

When I woke up, my compartment was parked in this brick warehouse. It was here that the bogie operation in question was performed.

Here are some specimens of bogies (wheel assemblies). I can not say whether these are for Chinese track or Mongolian track.

Ever heard of yellow dust? In Korea, the term for this is 'hwang-sa.' Yellow dust is a horrible plague of particulates that infects the air of cities including Beijing, Pyeongyang, Seoul, and even Pusan. Usually, yellow dust strikes in spring (now!), and it is said to come from the still-expanding Gobi Desert. Erlian is at the edge of the Gobi, and the town is engaging in an ongoing tree-planting campaign. These two fellows were digging holes. The days are already hot in Erlian, but they weren't complaining.

Some of the results of their labors...

This strange pipe (tapped into an old well?) caught my attention.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

i guess you have gone many special spacees,admiration! hehe