This is once again the Gobi desert. This time across the border on the Chinese side. I’ve mentioned in one of my earlier posts how much of a difference that border makes. Sand dunes on the Mongolian side are a challenge to get to and when you do you’re completely alone for what seems like miles and miles. These particular dunes in Dunhuang are a tourist attraction. There’s a bus that takes you to the spot and once you’re there, believe it or not, you pay an entrance fee. I found it completely ridiculous but have folded given the time constraint. Later on my trip I’ve met a number of people who just walked far enough from the “tourist area” and went around the wall/fence to get to the dunes.
Once inside the gates there’s a little oasis with a wealth of activities for tourists to pay for: camels, ATVs etc. You can even rent “sand proof” boots. I felt like the entrance fee had already left a big enough mark on my pocket so I opted for my legs to carry me around. I wanted to get away from the gates as far as possible and see where it’d take me. The dunes were high and even if I thought I knew what was behind each dune I had an idiotic curiosity and urge to see which dune’s higher and what’s behind. En route to the dunes I’ve met 2 Chinese students, and a 70+ year old Dutch traveler on a mission to cover the silk route. The old man was quite a character. He carried his LIDL supermarket plastic bags all over Asia, which he justified as a safety precaution. He thought nobody would rob an old man with a plastic bag. The 2 students gave up quite early but the old man kept following me around the dunes dragging hit plastic bag. He looked exhausted, very out of place but kept going. I tried to convince him to stop but it’s like he was trying to prove something to himself. At some point I thought I should stop before the man collapses, but luckily he went back by himself.
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Same dune with the guys on top.