With our hopes of walking by the river stomped, our first day out of Jingtai was a real downer for Ig. Instead of lush vegetation and flowing water, here’s what we got.
(Rob and Marsh; photo shows Ig pointing to the desert, and the other shows what looks to be a river of sand. :~) )
I tried to cheer him up and pass the time playing the “Name Game” and “Name The Food I’m Thinkin’ Of.” I stumped him on the name game with Frank Zappa (at the time neither one of us could come up with a name starting with Z), and the food game was far too torturous.
Not even my sand angel could get him outta his temporary slump.
(Rob and Marsh; first photo is of me laying in a sand dune making a sand angel, and the second is a close-up)
We stayed the night just one kilometer from the Ningxia border, and although it was a great moment to cross over, it was my turn to have the blues. The first two photos show me at the border; a ways away to the left, the provinces of Gansu, Ningxia and Inner Mongolia all meet. The other photo shows Gansu behind us and Ig digging for his toothbrush while Adventure Turtle makes a break for the sea, I assume.
The rest of the day was spent in a funk, but I have to say that these guys,
(Rob and Marsh; photo shows four Chinese men in their motorcycle gear posing for me)
a motorcyle team from Yinchuan, the capital of Ningxia, really cheered me up when they stopped to chat. It was a real spark to meet some fellow travellers out on the road. The tranquility of the night also helped to soothe my soul.
The next day, although both of us with a slight case of the unshakable blues, was far better. The hike was a real grind, but at one of our breaks a truck was sitting just up the road, and not five minutes after we’d sat down, the driver came over with water and bread rolls for us.
(Rob and Marsh; photo shows the truck driver standing over a sitting Ig and reaching to shake his hand.)
We explained what we were doing, and gave us a big thumbs up and insisted we go back to his truck with him to eat a melon.
In this photo he’s shimmied up the side of his truck and is digging for a melon from the load he’s hauling.
As you can see in this photo, sitting in the shade of his truck was a real break, and the melon was even better.
After miles and miles of nothing but sand, we came upon a clump of trees with a couple buildings nestled in the shade. We’d been out in the sun far longer than we’d wanted (our map was wrong in marking the town once again; gee, imagine that!), so we made a break for the trees and found it to be a small train station. The men who ran it welcomed us without hesitation.
Here they are at the command center.
It took no training at all before I started my first day on the job.
(Rob and Marsh; photo shows me sitting at the control board with one of the men’s hats on. :~) )
I’m proud to report that I derailed only one train, and I’m passing the buck and blaming it on a rogue camel.
Here’s our blissful resting spot in the shade where we completely made ourselves at home, and here’s a view of a train passing the platform.
(Rob and Marsh; first photo shows Ig laying on his bedroll in the shade, and the other shows a train passing through my shady view)
Later that night when a storm blew in, the man who ran the restaraunt we were eating in was so worried about us sleeping out in the bad weather that he insisted we stay in his bing guan for free.
Even when things are bad for us, there always seems to be someone to step in and spark us up with their help and kindness. And so thus far, Ningxia has been great!
Tags: Asia, China, Great Wall, Ningxia Province, Travel, Trekking, Tag Index