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CAMP AMONG THE SAND DUNES IN THE ALA SHAN DESERT For a three days' march in all directions from this spot, water is very scanty, and waterholes can be found only with a good deal of trouble.
Camels are being driven out to graze in the late afternoon. It is late in April, but there is still ice in the shady rock gorges of the Lan Shan, or Wolf Mountain range, which feeds the stream here shown.
PACK DONKEYS USED IN ALA SHAN BY PEASANTS AND WOODCUTTERS This is the only means of transportation available for short trips into the Wolf Mountains, which border the Mongol kingdom on the southeast.
WATERING THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY EXPEDITION'S CAMELS AT A WELL IN THE ALA SHAN DESERT
The animals acquire a moth-eaten appearance as spring advances, for their heavy winter coat comes loose in patches. The drivers pluck it off after each day's march and sell it to wool traders. Autumn, winter, and early spring are the best caravan seasons.
THE CROWD NEAR A CHINESE THEATER OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF WANG YE FU
He works for the camel caravans, making casks to carry water and the frames which support the roofs of the Mongol tents.
A RICH MONGOL BRIDAL COUPLE AT WANG YE FU
The bride wears the distinctive Wang Ye Fu headdress. The clock on the table, a wedding present, is a source of great pride to both.
Mongols gathered and stared at us, openmouthed, for the greater part of three days. Individuals went home to eat and returned, but the crowd was there from early morning until late at night.
When we closed the door of our room the more curious would squeeze close to the window, block out all the light, and poke holes through the paper windowpanes with their fingers. I finally found that the best system of self-protection was to leave the door open and to wash my hands frequently, flinging the suds and water into the courtyard. The crowd would dodge the deluge, and thus we obtained momentary breathing space.
Finally we discovered what might be called a horizontal apartment house, a
courtyard on which a dozen rooms opened, each rented to a different tenant. We hired six, had them whitewashed, set up camp cots, put our books in a corner, and installed ourselves.
From the housetop we could see Wang Ye Fu spread out around us, the walled city rising to the north, and flat roofs. shaded by green trees on level ground to the east, west, and south. Three little mud forts commanding the northern wall broke the skyline.
Beyond our court lav another, where my taxidermists had quarters. Our landlord, Mr. Mung, received his guests there, and also his customers, for he had a grain and feed store and a wine-shop and held the office of postmaster. The flour mill of
CHINESE TRADERS AND MONGOL SOLDIERS Mud-walled Chinese trading posts are scattered along the busier caravan trails in Mongolia.
THE REGENT OF ALA SHAN, SOME OF HIS RETAINERS, AND TWO AMERICANS The author, leader of the National Geographic Society's Central-China Expedition, is seated beside the Mongol ruler.