As it turns out, I don’t speak Chinese. So it took a couple trips to the bus station to figure how to get from Urumqi up to Mongolia’s southwestern, foreigner-friendly border.
After an out-of-placely excessively comfortable eight-hour bus to another remote Chinese city, Qinggil, two Mongolian men asked me in Russian if I were headed to the Mongolian border and wanted to share a taxi. Ninety minutes later we were in the frontier town of Takashikenzhen for the night, in a cheap hotel and hunting down Mongolian food and vodka.
I love it when you fumble with confusing logistics and strangers descend to lure you where you’re going smoothly. So long as they don’t stab you in the face in the night, which they didn’t.