June 23, 2010

Day 16-20: Dunhuang

Mingsha Sand Dunes,  Dunhuang

To me, the quaint oasis town of Dunhuang represents the meeting place between sand and civilization. Walking down the tree lined main street leads right into the Mingsha Dunes’ sweeping 20 story arabesques. Approaching, it seemed to go from pavement to sand in a few short steps.

Curious about the camels I had photographed at the dunes in the morning, I set off again later that evening with friends from Long Island, Joan Digby and her husband John, who happened to be in Dunhuang too.  I ventured back toward the sand, veering off the road onto smaller trails that meandered into timeless moments. They spoke to me about the early caravan traders who arrived at this point where the Northern and Southern Silk Roads converge.

Camels Coming Home,  Dunhuang

Dunhuang, being an important destination for the traveler to either stock up for, or repair from, the arduous journey crossing the fiercely hot Taklamakan. I too, prepared for this next phase of my journey, and rode the Bactrian camel for a few hours to get the experience of the desert. It was not too pleasant, as my camera kept hitting the camel’s front hump then onto my leg.  Making the entire trip an event as I kept switching positions trying to get comfortable on this graceful animal of the sand.

Tomorrow is Day 21 stop over in Urumqi then onto Turpan the hottest place in China.

Mt. Ararat

Marla Mossman

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