Saturday, June 2 – Hami to Dunhuang – Dave

Last night, in my room, we finished off the last of our decent wine, then, feeling just fine, we strolled across to the hotel bar where we’d heard that music would be played.  It turned out we were too early and the place was empty, but there was a piano so Simon started rolling our some great boogie woogie and a guitarist emerged from the shadows and joined hm.  And now we were all feeling great, so how about some cognacs?  Sure.  But they only sell it by the bottle?  No problem – bring it on.  And then the professional musicians arrived and we drank some more…

Which is how I came to be riding across the desert this morning, under a blinding sun, with a blinding hangover – the first I’ve had in years (honestly), and hopefully the last I’ll ever have.  Fortunately I wasn’t missing much in the way of sights – just mile after mile of straight road through the sand with plenty of overloaded, dangerously-weaving trucks to overtake and occasional glimpses of distant mountains.

It was tough to find somewhere interesting to stop to eat and eventually we just pulled over in an area where the ground was black and we seemed to be lunching amid endless slag heaps.  But maybe it was just a peculiarity of local geography?

After lunch, Simon took a stroll and found that we were close to an open-cast coal mine – and had indeed been lunching among slag heaps.

Onwards over unmade desert roads…

…and through barren hills…

…to our hotel in the city of Dunhuang.  We are now, at last, out of the Uighur province of Xinjiang and into Han China in the province of Gansu.

Here’s our hotel…

…and here’s the view from the hotel rooftop restaurant where we dined well.

And by now I was feeling human again.  But no drink for a while.

The best to you all,


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