In the desert

Jiayuguan Travel Blog

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Oh yes. Onto the Silk Road proper and into the hot hot heat of western China.

Jiayuguan is a place with great significance in the Chinese phyche, even today. It's the place where the Great Wall ends with the Impregnable Defile Under Heaven. Which is a load of rubbish really because the wall was, ah, impregnated many times before it crumbled to dust sometime around the fifteenth century. It certainly didn't stop Genghis Khan.

Nevertheless, Jiayuguan historically held the same significance as the Watford Gap holds for the modern-day Londoner: it's still the same country beyond it, but it's populated by barbarians and holds the near certainty of death for more civilized folks. Here be dragons.

Yeah, well, I braved it. As did my mate D, who'd spent twelve long days opposite me in a jeep in Mongolia. Poor lass. She actually screamed when she saw me here. She did.

It was a hard walk up the Wall in the heat, with a good view of some army training site from the top. The town came to an abrupt end and desert started - gravel, tiny grey bushes and very, very little else. Just a tank puttering round a track, occasionally firing its cannon at nothing. And then the fort, with its huge huge walls several metres thick. Cool.

Unfortunately I was feeling rough as a dog again. I think there was something up with the beer I drank with D the night before. She was fine but my stomach had gone; as soon as we got back to town I went to bed, allowing myself an hour's sleep before I had to get up and argue the toss with the po-lice for half an hour about getting my visa extended. Then back to bed.
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photo by: portia