Gobi Desert

The 5-hour trip from Datong in Shanxi Province to Baotou in Inner Mongolia by car was a real test of patience. My butt was already aching for sitting in long hours. I can’t put myself to sleep on a daytime travel. Be it the most comfortable seat or in the most luxurious car, I just couldn’t close my eyes for a minute. So, I texted as many friends I could disturb, just to be entertained. And at the same time, make them jealous of my trip. :))

We finally arrived at 7:30 p.m. and we were billeted in a three-star hotel by my student’s father who was so accommodating and really spent his time with us for our whole stay there. Food was really good. Lamb dishes were absolutely great! I devoured like a hungry lion.

Ganbei here and ganbei there followed next. It’s a custom foreigners in China must be used to when invited by a Chinese family. Though you can say, no, but you can sense the air of dismay from your host. So better try two or three glasses of something alcoholic and pretend you’re dizzy so they’d stop the ganbei. It always work, believe me. 😉


The next day, after eating breakfast which consisted of bread, bun and soup (consisted of intestines and other insides of a sheep), the 2-hour journey to Gobi Dessert began. The family originally planned to bring me to a “famous” temple (everything in China is famous), but I told them that I’ve seen a lot of temples in my lifetime already. So, they brought me to Gobi Desert.

Gobi is known as Yimeng Xiangshawan, a name that refers to the swooshing sound made by the sand when you step on it. Honestly, I’ve never heard it. The vastness of the dessert surely captured my naked eyes. It’s endless….. It’s like a different kind of ocean.

I finally rode a camel! It was exciting! But I pity how those animals are treated by their caretakers. They’re maltreated. I’ve seen a camel who was almost beaten to death because the poor animal just dropped on his knees with a local tourist on its back. The beaing was a sight I could not endure. I was sooooo shocked and stood their stiff. Those animals give them the money and all they get is abuse. The camel behind me had a nosebleed. I told the caretaker about it but I was ignored. My students translated what the man said, “Don’t worry. This camel is always like that.” WTF?

There’s an area in Gobi dessert where they made life-size sand sculptures. They’re mostly famous people in the history of the diminishing, if not gone, Mongolian Empire: Genghis Khan, Kubla Khan, etc… They also have sculptures of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games five mascots, and a fat Buddha.

Dressed in a Mongolian traditional garb, I know I can never be one of their kind.

I’ve got a lot of wig photos in the dessert but I think this is my most hilarious.

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Walking the Gobi: A 1600 Mile Trek Across a Desert of Hope and Despair

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