We caught the train (our last for the trip) to Beijing. A few hours of Mongolian steppe before we hit the beautiful Gobi desert. The Mongolians say there are 30-odd Gobi deserts, and we saw a few - arid pasture (where we saw camel herds), sand plains and sand dunes.
At the end of the Gobi we had to cross the Mongolia-China border. It took seven hours (from 7pm to 2am), so much faster than Russia-Mongolia. Especially considering they had to change the boogie of the train, due to the slightly wider gauge of the tracks. Surely it wouldn't be that hard to design a multi-gauge boogie?
I woke up this morning to see the cultivated rise terraces of China going by. Then the mountains lined by the Great Wall, and into Beijing. Tonight we saw the amazing China National Acrobatic Troupe. It was better than watching the gymnastics at the Olympics, they were simply stunning. From the little boy on the slackwire with a ladder and a unicycle (which he rode on his head), to the boys running through hoops and up poles, to the girls being able to balance pots while doing contortions balancing on each other, it was great!
Afterwards we went to the Donghuanmen night market for dinner. There were dozens of small booths selling so many different foods. There were scorpians, silk worms, octopus, cockroaches, various meats, and things I couldn't pinpoint. I had a vegetable dumpling (which was great), a bizarre thing that looked like a pizza (but tasted like fried semolina covered with herbs), tofu fried in sesame, and a fried bdndnd.
Two years of studying Chinese when I was young has left me with about the same level of communication as I have in Russian after two weeks travelling there - I can say hello, goodbye, thankyou, sorry, and a few other basic words only.