Posts Tagged ‘Liuyuan’


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


Bickle up people. I’ve entered Gansu with English on the signs. I’m looking forward to the statae class an xi extremely – I’m not sure if I’d recognise it if I saw it though. In the mean time, I drank a lot of ice tea in the ice zone and watched out for the traffic in the harmonious society. Chinglish at its best.

Extremely

Extremely

Welcome to Gansu

Welcome to Gansu

Smooth Communication

Smooth Communication

The Ice Zone

The Ice Zone

Harmonious Society

We set of after the other cyclist Huang today, who was waiting at the hotel reception long before we had even thought about breakfast. With his eyes set of the 220km distant Duanghuan, we thought we would not see him again.

A flat tyre broke up the everyday existence of cycling along the main road through the desert, stopping every 30km or so at the parking area shops.

Puncture

Puncture

All this cycling had brought Achun and I closer and closer to a first possible split in our paths. Dunhuang. A beautiful town, set in the desert, with massive sand dunes as a backdrop. A tourist mecca. And about 130km off our way. I was undecided on whether or not to go there. Achun was undecided. Both wanted to continue parallel to the freeway in Gansu afterwards for a few hundred more kilometres. Both also wanted to continue cycling together. I feel a real rapport with Achun.
It was approaching evening when we reached the turnoff to Dunghuan – a gravel road that stayed that way the whole 130km to Dunghuan. We were still undecided. And then Huang appeared. It became clear we had a companion no matter what our decision was. As the sun sunk lower in the sky, the three of us set off along the dirt road into the desert to set up camp in a beautiful place in the desert lunar landscape.

Sunset

Sunset