Conquering Northern China | Season 1 | Episode 4
SerpentZA and Laowhy86 are greeted with a dreary, wet and miserable morning, following a restless night of sleep in the yurt that they built the previous night in the Inner Mongolian grasslands. Soaking wet, exhausted and boots full of water, the vloggers take a pit stop at New Barag Youqi, a town located on the border between Mongolia and China. The following morning, Winston and C-Milk wake up bright and early to meet Usuriletu, another Mongolian ethnic minority. Usuriletu takes the riders out into the grasslands on yet another hunt, this time to find horses for milking. With rounding up complete, and the horses safely back at the home of Usuriletu, he sets about teaching Winston and C-Milk how to tie up the herd, in order to separate the young from their mothers to ensure milking is possible. Armed with a lasso pole and years of farming experience from his childhood growing up in South Africa, Winston is the first to enter the fray of rowdy horses, and he sets his sights on one of the youngest foals in the herd, but foolishly underestimates the brute force of this youngster. Once the lasso wraps itself around the foal’s neck, a quick stomp sees it rag Winston up off his feet and down into the dirty dust of the pen. SerpentZA literally eats dirt, before dusting himself off and passing the pole to C-Milk for his chance to shine. Unfortunately, he doesn’t fair much better, hooking the lasso around another young foal that snaps the pole in half! A local chef arrives at the grasslands to cook a fresh goat in a traditional Mongolian way. He does this using an ancient method, derived from times when pots and pans were less common in households. Firstly, he skins and guts the lamb, before placing piping hot coals within its skin, along with the remaining chopped up meat, finally sealing the carcass tightly shut. As the meats cook slowly from within, the chef uses a blowtorch to remove the remaining wool and finish off the meat. Absolutely stuffed from an entire lamb’s worth of tough, chewy and delicious meat, Winston and C-Milk set out for Manzhouli, the only city within China, which has an open border crossing with Russia. The pair head further north for Shiwei, home to China’s Russian ethnic minority. There, local Russian ethnic minority, Donia, greets the vloggers at her bed and breakfast, and settles them in with some traditional Russian songs, a few surprise Mongolian dance moves, and of course, plenty of her homemade Baijiu (a traditional Chinese spirit). The next morning, Donia lays on a fine spread of Russian breakfast for the boys, as they gear up for the next leg of their adventure to Genhe, home of the Ewenke ethnic minority, famous for rearing reindeer in their evergreen forest settlements. After arriving in Genhe, it’s clear to see that the Ewenke no longer live in the forests as their ancestors once did, but they continue to carry on their traditions of raising reindeer. A gun confiscation law limits the Ewenke’s ability to hunt in the forests, and with wild bears and wolves a very realistic threat; Winston and C-Milk learn the reasons behind the minority moving away from their traditional woodland homes. One local Ewenke even tells of a bear that killed 20 of her reindeer herd the previous year. The Ewenke minority are not only famous for their reindeer herds, but also for their consumption of alcohol, something that the vloggers are quickly introduced to, as they feast on reindeer meat in Genhe, alongside the many merry locals. With sore heads and tired bodies, SerpentZA and Laowhy86 finally hit the road for the final leg of their epic 10,000km journey, Mohe, the northernmost point of China. It provides them with a chance to reflect on the new cultures they have experienced, and the many characters they have met along the way… it’s China like they’ve never seen it before.