Christmas was celebrated in the best conceivable way. On Christmas Eve we attended a Scandinavian divine service at four o'clock in the afternoon. It was conducted by the Norwegian pastor TH. SÖRENSEN. In the evening HUMMEL, MONTELL, KULLGREN, KARLBECK and I were invited to our legation by Mr and Mrs JoEN LAGERBERG. We made a real Swedish Christmas of it, with Christmas presents, verses, lighted Christmas-trees and everything belonging to this day for the regaling of body and soul.
1931 opened with very keen winter weather. The icy blasts of the season were released in full force. On the 8th and the 9th there was a violent storm, with whirling clouds of dust, that made the air thick and grey-yellow. Inside the house it was impossible to keep the temperature at a supportable height, and the whirling dust penetrated every crack and cranny, till one might have imagined oneself transported back to the Gobi Desert.
This storm proved disastrous for the beggars and other poor wretches whose poverty kept them in the streets or in the open air without a proper roof over their heads and without the possibility of warming themselves sufficiently. No fewer than eighteen persons were reported as frozen to death in the city on the night when the storm was raging at its height.
On January 15th, in company with MÜHLENWEG, Dr HALIDE arrived from Germany to prepare a new meteorological expedition to Inner Mongolia. HALIDE had received 75,000 marks from Lufthansa for the financing of this journey, a sum that had been left over when Lufthansa wound up its engagement with the expedition of 1927-28, and that they now generously placed at his disposal.
This time HALIDE had kites with him, with which he was to send up self-registering instruments to considerable heights above the ground. After a week he left for Tientsin to begin the equipping of the expedition. JOEL ERIKSSON was then to help him assemble a camel-caravan at his mission station at Khadain-sume. Besides MÜHLENWEG, who would accompany him as caravan-leader and assistant, he was later joined by two Chinese students, Hsv CHIN-TSE and Hu CHEN-TAO, as assistant observers.