Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Desert Diversions

On the three day drive back to Beijing, we spent a day crossing the Tengger desert, although when we struck off the main road into the desert hills, it was not long before we came round a corner to the following sight. With the Chinese eternally reconstructing China from dawn till dusk like busy bees, this sort of setback is a constant danger. But not one that created problems when we were on horseback. Hua looks on while Peng susses the situation.But it was a matter of minutes for the digger to clear a path for us. The Tengger has some varied and beautiful scenery – Hua illustrates rocky desert while I model the sandy alternative.
The first sight of camels actually in the desert generated a ripple of excitement, but this soon wore off after the 20th sighting. But you must agree that they are rather picturesque. The camels in China are of course the two-humped Bactrian - the type used on the Silk Route for centuries.
We did not make it across the Tengger the first day, and ended up staying in a tiny settlement in the middle of nowhere, all squashed into one sparse room with a single candle for light. However the next morning we were able to have a proper breakfast for the first time in weeks. Here is our breakfast steaming away outside the eating house at the next village.

And here is Peng limbering up with chopsticks ready to tuck in to mutton and potato dumplings – delicious! As this was a Moslem establishment, pork dumplings were not on the menu.

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