Second day in Inner Mongolia
Trip Start Jul 28, 2009
51Trip End Jul 27, 2010
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What I did
visited a desert
We woke up at 7 after a rude awakening call, a violent knock on the door from the hotel staff. First in the shower, i was looking forward to breakfast. Like usual, the breakfast was not very good. But i didn't care much because that i day i was going to a desert!
Breakfast wasn't great, but it did the job. We had to travel for 3 hours to get to the dessert, so it wasn't a short trip. Also, not the most comfortable of travels when you sit next to a person larger than their seating area. Invading my personal space, i was forced onto the isle for most of the journey there and back. When we were almost their i found it hard to believe that we were going to a desert. Up until 3 minutes of arriving to the desert there were still farms growing luscious looking plants; not the type of environment i would expect when going to the desert.
When we arrived we had to climb up a massive dune. This dune looked very much like the ‘big sand dune’ in Braunton burrows, but 3 times the size. It reminded me of home again. There were of course cable cars for the lazy man, but real men climb sand dunes. Camera in one hand, the other hand keeping the balance i scaled to the summit. And in good time i may add.
At the top (after getting over the head rush and catching my breath) I could see endless desert to my right, and endless factories in the distance on the left. TIC.
The desert itself was much like a theme park too, with lots of activities to do such as quad biking, sand surfing, camel back riding. The first arranged activity was a trip around the desert in some kind of converted old army truck. For a 40 minute ride it cost ¥120, so i decided to keep my money an give it a miss. The vast majority of people paid to go, but for the few that also decided not to go just sat in the shade.
Always one for not wasting time and sitting around, i went for a stroll.. in the desert. Ok, maybe not as dangerous as you might think because there were plenty of people around, but still. Loaded with a camera i went to take some snaps. I wanted to go where no one had gone that day (to avoid getting footprints in the shots) so i wondered to the point where i couldn't see any type of civilisation and the expanse of the desert was in front in my lens.
Its an incredible feeling being alone in a desert. A vast expanse of nothingness before you. I sat down for a little while and thought deep, meaningful things (whilst soaking up the sun). Fearing that the others had returned and missing out on other activities, i walked back to see what was happening.
The next activity inline was camel back riding! This was definitely worth doing. Its what you do in deserts; ride camels. I had to be part of the biggest stereotype in the desert, its the rules.
The camel ride turned out to be really good. I couldn't stop laughing about how i was on a camel in the desert, it was a great feeling. Although it was fantastically commercialised as there wasn't a point where you was on your own (there was many camel tours going on around us), but i still got the feel i was in The Mummy or something.The camel ride lasted 20 minutes and all we did was effectively walk the camel up the hill to see more dunes, and then back again. But it was still worth it. I was however, disappointed that i didn't get to see a camel spit. I did manage to get a sneaky shot of a camel toe, which i found quite amusing.
After the Camel ride it was approaching 4 o'clock and it was time to head back to the hotel. We had spent 4 hours in the desert, and i think that’s about the maximum you can spend there before going mad, probably.
There was one activity left, which was described to us as sand surfing. I imagined standing on a board and surfing down a dune, but it was more like sitting on a sledge and slowly go down. As this also cost money, i kept the cash and saved it for an ice cream instead. At the top there was only one logical way to get down a massive sand dune.. run down it. After witnessing my friend going before me, taking a huge bail and getting a mouthful of sand; i wasn’t too sure. I ran anyway and of course (as im well experienced from running down the big sand dune quite stoned) i glided down.
After chomping on a few ice creams (really had forgotten how amazing they are) and taking a few nice snaps of the area we got on the bus back to Hohhot.
This was the second to last night in Inner Mongolia, so TTC had arranged for us to go KTV (KTV is the abbreviation Chinese use for karaoke, its massive over here for some reason). Food was a buffet, which was surprisingly good because all i did was raid the deep fried section, yum. Knackered from the day and embarrassed of my mono-tone voice i did not get on the dance floor and decided to make conversation instead.
After KTV i was very tired and was more than prepared to go back to the hotel for a much needed rest. As usual, i fell for pier pressure and ended up going to the bars. Im still considering whether it was a good idea of not.. especially when the bar tried to skank us with a water in the vodka bottle we bought. The cheek of it!
Stumbled home around 3 for an early rise.