From Turfan to Dunhuang

On to Dunhuang


               As usual for us we are leaving the TuHa Petroleum Hotel in Turfan early to catch the train to Dunhuang.  Even though we planned to leave at 9 AM for a 1040 train, leaving over an hour to get through security, we still had breakfast and caught a taxi at 8:50 and arrived at the station at 9:15.  As before, the line for security to gain access to the station was long and noisy.  In this case, more westerners that locals. 

               More disruptive than waiting was the demand by security to open suitcases.  It is not embarrassment, but the mess and confusion of digging in the clothes to find the items.  By this stage, the suitcase is not well packed and we struggle to zipper closed.  Double difficulty when the suitcase is on the floor of the station and everyone is rushing past.   They taped my Swiss army knife shut and told JoAnn her scissors were small enough not to worry.  The security guards were helpful and courteous in pushing my suitcase closed. 

               The bullet train was clean and comfortable.  Someone actually washes the floor after each train stop.  People around engaged us.  As if being a westerner was still unusual in China.  Well maybe in Western China, Xinjiang Province.

               Time was getting near for our stop, but no one was calling Dunhuang.  A moment of panic, but then remembered we were off at Liuyuan and that the car would take us to Dunhuang.  Lucy and the car were at the station and it was an hour or more to Dunhuang.

               Dunhuang is in the Gobi desert, which was quite different than the Taklimakan of Kuqa and Turfan.  It was flat.  Visibility was for miles.  No mountains as we had in Taklimakan.  Also, no dust.

               We saw cars parked on the side of the road, in the desert.  Amazing they were fishing in a small pond.  In the dessert.  There had been an unusual amount of rain.  The reservoir was filled and it was releasing water into the dessert streams.  I guess the fish are also up river and when the water is released so were fish.  Our guide, Lusy also mentioned that the level of vegetation in the dessert was quite unusual due to the recent heavy rains.  It was green, in the desert. 

               As we came closer to Dunhuang, vegetation increased.  Cultivation of crops and trees became prominent.  Dunhuang is a large oasis in the Gobi.  

               After settling in the hotel, JoAnn began her search for street food.  The shuttle to the Night Market and some wandering around satisfied her need.  One dish was stir fired intestines, not so good.   So much for ordering pointing at pictures.     :     Expand your mind.  Stretch your body.