Our caravan consisting of two
cars and a lorry was to start off next morning at four o’clock, just about
dawn. Plessen woke Müller and myself
before four o’clock. (The Baron was just
like an alarm clock). He shaved,
whistling and put on his shorts. We
dressed, drank tea without milk or sugar; the effect of the sunrise over the
hills was fine; our caravan rattled out of the fortress. Two cars were leading and one had a trunk
with all kinds of goods for the Mongolians.
The evening before a Chinese Foreign Office
representative asked us to sign the following: -
undersigned herewith certify that we are going to visit Inner Mongolia on our
own risk for any eventualities, which may happen during our travelling.
We carefully considered all
warnings of the local Chinese officials who will take no responsibilities
should anything happen to the undersigned:
11th July 1935.
to me in my car was a tremendous Cossack, he had a head like a melon - only
square, shaved bald; he was terrifically strong and fat; he had bandy legs from
being so much in the saddle. He laughed
and joked all the time. He was very
much of a child. His name was
Vishnevitch and after the Revolution he walked 800 miles in winter across
Mongolia, from Urga to Kalgan! There
were three Russians and myself in the car and the driver said: “don’t be disappointed if we don’t get
further than twelve miles, for floods may have blocked the road”. When we left the town boundary, the day
gradually getting lighter, we had to show our special visas for Chahar and
Suiyuan (as the Inner Mongolian province is called) while blue uniformed
soldiers, formerly of General Sung, stood there with fixed bayonets. And so we rattled on along horrible
tracks into Inner Mongolia. We left the
last Chinese town behind, gradually cultivated fields disappeared; we
entered the Steppes and were in real Mongolia by afternoon.