Posts Tagged ‘Dunhuang’


I lie windbattered and a bit confused in a tin shack at a parking spot on the freeway between Dunhuang and Guazhou. I am safe, and alone inside, listening to the wind howling outside. The headwind was dramatic as Achun and I crawled forward through the sheets of sand and dust to the first sign of life since leaving Dunhuang. And then Achun said that he was leaving, and didn’t want to cycle with me.

A windy melon stand

A windy melon stand

I am at a loss, and sad that Achun has left. I don’t understand why. He was a bit distressed yesterday evening when I really couldn’t eat what I had taken at the all-you-can-eat buffet. A ‘food-wastage’ fine hung over my head, but my western stomach couldn’t eat what I had foolishly taken. Was it my irritation when fixing a flat tyre just after we were about to leave this morning? I may never know. Anyway, I’m cycling alone again..

We stayed for 2 days in Dunhuang, resting and visiting the famous sand dunes. And they are huge! They rise hundreds of metres above the town – just the right thing for me. I’ve always loved running up and down sandhills.

The vast sandy expanse

The vast sandy expanse

The top of the sandhill

The top of the sandhill

On the way up

On the way up


Before us the road was infinite, to all sides the desert was vast. Grey pebbles and sand, the odd tiny scrubby bush. Grey below the horizon, blue above, and a scorching white sun burning us from the heavens.

The dusty road

The dusty road

Huang left before us when there was no obvious sign of movement from Achun’s tent. Several hours later Achun and I departed, and made our way along this often sandy, bumpy road, plied by massive road-work trucks. Away from the road-works, the desert was all encompassing. I love this barren landscape – this piece of parched earth – void of people. Just us, the sun, the earth, and the heat.

The dusty road

The dusty road

The dusty road

The dusty road

Arrival in Dunhuang – quite high on the Chinese tourist-Mecca list, was a jolt back to reality. Crowds of people perusing over souvenirs of polished rocks, bangles and bracelets, cards and t-shirts. A whole street of touristy restaurants at inflated prices. Dusty, sweaty (and probably smelly), we joined the masses, oozing past people as we slowly crept forward. We realised that we both don’t like this.
‘Food! Food! Sit down!’
A menu was thrust in our faces.
Whisk us away. Take us to a place where the wind, the sun and the clouds are our only companions. To a place where we are part of nature – not just observing it, consuming it, with thousands of others in a protective bubble of civilization. Take us away.

Bubble tea

Bubble tea