Jiayuguan and desert

Travelers' Tales China is, as its name suggests, a collection of various true stories about experiences in China. I'm certain that Donovan Webster's chapter China's Unknown Gobi, is a reprint of an article in National Geographic that really captured my imagination. Ancient ghost towns, lonely oases and rapidly expanding deserts that threaten to engulf cities. China has a number of deserts, including the Gobi, Taklamakan and Tengger, and they are spreading due to land overuse and a changing climate.

The desert is calling to me, the desolation, the horizons and the silence. I know we have no chance of journeying deep into the wastelands during our upcoming trip, but still I would like a taste. Maybe Jiayuguan on the western end of the wall, a long train ride along the Yellow River, the Huang He, from Beijing. The backdrop of the fort and wall against the mountains. Photographs whetting my appetite.

And when we return from China, perhaps the deserts here in Australia will call me as well. They may not hide the remains of ancient civilisations, but they too hold stories of tens of thousands, no, millions of years.

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