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Inner Mongolia, Day 1

I traveled to Inner Mongolia to a hotel on the grasslands near a little town called Taipusi with a car company that was using the trip as a ways of fulfilling its corporate social responsibility and as a means to treat customers, one of whom is a friend of mine.

The company brought school supplies for an elementary school and put up its customers at this simple resort. We did not sleep in a ger (a Monoglian yurt) - apparently it's rougher, yet more expensive.

Our arrival coincided with the last day of Nadam, with locals traveling to the site primarily by motorcycle and horse to enjoy the matches.

The majority of the large trucks headed north with us to Inner Mongolia were carrying these giant windmill components. You wouldn't believe how big the blades on those suckers are.

A young Mongolian boy and a captive owl look each other over.

This may seem obvious, but it merits mentioning that you should not leave your owl in the midday sun like this. Had it not perked up when evening fell, I'd have thought it would have been dead by the following morning - that pitiful.

A mother and baby shelter from a sudden small rainstorm at the beginning of the Naadam wrestling finals.

The standing champion leads others in a march around the wrestling field.

Dust storms were a problem that day.

Rain was also a factor.

Much of Mongolian wrestling involves grasping tightly onto your opponent, rarely moving much but slowly tiring one another out.

No quiet corners around which to take a phone call.

The champ waits his turn.

Several women also participated in the wrestling matches.

The referee's robes.

Eagle dancing before a fight.

And eagle dancing in triumph after.

Soles.

A place for one's knife.

Spectator.

A brave child takes her time leaving the field.

My friend kindly agrees to be a ghost.

Outdated transport.

Bonfire.

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