June 22, 2010

Day 13-14-15: Jiaguyuan

The Fortress at Jiaguyuan, in Gansu Province on the edge of the Gobi Desert is the most western section of the Great Wall that eventually undulates its way to Beijing. Today there is little romance about this cold desert city except its perfunctory usefulness with dozens of chemical factories processing the raw minerals from the nearby Qilian Mountain. Once a strategic fort guarding the narrow pass that bears its name. It was the last outpost for travelers on the Silk Road leaving China for the wilder wilderness of Xinjiang Province and the West.

Western Section of the Great Wall,  Jiaguyuan

I was drawn to the fort’s high-terrace pavilions and crenellated walls, but after a day and a half shooting I soon tired of this relic of the past. Wandering through a nearby village I came across these farmers sitting by the side of the road playing a local board game.

The player’s own confusion on his next move reflected my inner turmoil; should I take the crowded 5-hour bus to Dunhuang or hire the driver who I have been with these few days in Jiaguyuan.

Go-No-Go,  Jiaguyuan

I decided on the taxi driver to take me through the Hexi Corridor on the 5-hour journey. He told me he would bring his sister along as an extra driver. But when I arrive at the car the backseat is full with sister, wife and child all ready for the adventure ride to Dunhuang.

Tomorrow is Day 16 and the Sand Dunes at Dunhuang.

Mt. Ararat

Marla Mossman

My photo
One woman traveling alone, in search of her religious and cultural heritage.