By Roy Chapman Andrews
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Additional resources for Across Mongolian Plains - A Naturalist's Account Of China's 'Great Northwest'
On the road beside me a train of laden mules and bullock-carts rested for a moment--the drivers half asleep. Over all the plain there lay the peace of a perfect autumn evening. Suddenly, from behind a little rise, I heard the whir of a motor engine and the raucous voice of a Klaxon horn. Before I realized what it meant, I was in the midst of a mass of plunging, snorting animals, shouting carters, and kicking mules. In a moment the caravan scattered wildly across the plain and the road was clear save for the author of the turmoil--a black automobile.
The front of operations had moved in a single night almost two thousand miles away to the Omsk district, and it was certain that Mongolia would be left in peace. Mr. Price's work also was done, for the telegraph from Urga to Irkutsk was again in operation and thus communication was established with Peking. The morning after my arrival Mr. Guptil and I rode out to see the town. Never have I visited such a city of contrasts, or one to which I was so eager to return. As we did come back, I shall tell, in a future chapter, of what we found there.
We stopped for water at a well a few hundred yards away, and in five minutes the cars were surrounded by a picturesque group of lamas who streamed across the plain on foot and on horseback, their yellow and red robes flaming in the sun. They were amiable enough--in fact, too friendly--and their curiosity was hardly welcome, for we found one of them testing his knife on the tires and another about to punch a hole in one of the gasoline cans; he hoped it held something to drink that was better than water.
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