Dunhuang for me was the part of the China trip I was looking most forward to, we just had to get there. I was only around 5hours by train from Jiayuguan but the train times were all really stupid times. In the end our train was supposed to depart around 5am infact it was delayed and departed just before 7 and even then became further delayed so we eventually arrived around noon. Then according to all the information that I could find we wanted to head for Charlie’s café which was apparently across the street from the bus station. Unfortunately the bus station moved 3years ago and the café is no longer opposite it. So after we took a taxi to the bus station we then found out from two German guys that we had to walk a further 20minutes to find the café! Anyway their directions were pretty easy to follow and we found the café no problem, when we finally got there we were starving, the whole morning had ran on China time. So while eating lunch we organised to head into the desert on a camel for the night.
It sounded amazing, we would take a sunset ride by camel into the desert for 1-2hours, we would then climb to the top of the dune to watch sunset while our guides prepared camp and dinner, then after spending the night there we would wake to watch sunrise and then ride the camel back to the town. While booking everything six German guys walked in and booked on the same trip of Silk Road travel as us, that now made the total 16 for the trip. It was going to be a good night, but we needed to do a little shopping first. Top of the shopping list was gloves and socks plus a bag to take with me. First I went with Ben but soon realised I was never going to get what I needed shopping with him so after he got what he needed he headed back to the café while I did some more shopping and had a look round for an hour or so. Our trip was to depart at 5 and as we arrived so late in the end it basically wrote off doing anything else that day. But even only walking round for an hour or so it’s not hard to tell how beautiful the city it, and touristy too.
So back to the café before 5 we all sat around and got to know each other, the German’s were studying in Shanghai (the city of 72-hour China visa) and like us were on holiday for National Day. Not before long and we were off, loaded into two cars, off to find our camels. It was only a short drive and we were there just in time to see them loading up the quad bike that would be going ahead of us with the camping gear and food. Quickly they got each of us on to a camel; they are such beautiful, friendly creatures. The trek was absolutely breath-taking! There is no other words to describe it, it just made me realise even more how much I love my life and how lucky I am to be able to see and experience such amazing things! Everything about the whole evening and night was amazing. First we trekked through an old grave yard by the famous sand dunes before eventually reaching the sand dunes, they are incredible. I was at the back, which gave me the opportunity to take photos of all the other camels in front of me trekking into the sunset. The colours on the dunes as the sunset made you want to constantly take photos, I think in that one evening I took almost 200 photos. The guide that was with us was running up and down the line the whole time taking cameras from us and taking photos of us, he was great and even though he spoke barely any English he was good fun.
When we arrived at camp and got down from the camels it was time to hike to the top of the sand dune for sunset and we had made it just in time. It wasn’t really a long walk up but it was really hard work especially when the sand is constantly coming down due to the fact that there are people in front of you, your feet just push the sand down and it just seems to get steeper and steeper. But finally I reached the top along with the others. Looking from the top of a sand dune over the town and desert is truly spectacular! Amazingly it was to be a full moon and as the sunset the moon rose making it even more special. Going down the boys were boys and ran down or did anything else to get down than just walk. At the bottom dinner was awaiting us, instant noodles, ‘sausage’, bread and some yummy moon cake. We ate sitting on mats with little fold away stools and tables around the camp fire, it was great! After eating the guides came round and offered everyone a beer, can’t go camping without the beer! We then all sat upon a small sand hill where we had the perfect view of the moon rising in the sky, it was getting into winter and in the morning and at night it gets pretty cold. Kindly the guilds knew this and brought with them Russian Mafia type coats for all of us, they were great, so snug and warm. So there we all were stood on top of a sand bank looking like the Russian Mafia had just arrived. Before bed we sat around the camp fire the only thing missing been marshmallows but this was definitely going down as one of the best trips I’ve done (I’m already trying to work out when I can do a week camel trekking trip!).
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