Driving in Dunhuang

Nicholas Quirke was once again lost in awe of the landscapes he was in the midst of on 30 September 2020. The desert vista they were driving through, the flat unending horizons were not unknown to him but the colours, the views that loomed out of nowhere were. Compelled to stop at the sight of a viewing platform for a photovoltaic park they captured a futuristic sight of a beacon which, seemed to be visible for miles. Their actual destination was to see the Jade Gate Pass and as the road they were on seemed to stretch for infinity into the desert it was decided that it was time Nicholas did some driving. It felt good, exciting even to be back at a wheel after nine months and particularly good to be driving on another continent despite the right hand driving. They reached the ticket office for the Han Dynasty relic of Yuman Pass built during the second Century BC famous by a few lines of poetry but when grey got inside there was no one I. Sight they crossed the road to the tourist office and it was equally derelict. Peng was back at the wheel and they sped on finally reaching g the scenic spot. It was a single standing bastion in a wilderness but the atmosphere surrounding a construction that had stood stood for over 1500 years was awesome. Theee were two other relics in the vicinity but these required a bus which would added another 50 yuan each and estimated time was 90 minutes. As they still had 100 km to travel to reach the Dunhuang Global Geo Park of Yardang Landforms they ditched the idea and sped onwards. Nicholas had encountered Yardang land forms before when he ventured to Goblin Valley near Moab, USA. His car broke down and he never got closer than being intimidated by the monolith scary rock he had stopped to photograph and when he realised the landscape he was likely to encounter he for very excited . The black sand combined with the huge distorted rocks created a completely dreamlike. Yardang is Formed by water and having been at the bottom of the o wan the water a s weather erosion had over millennia wrought the rock into some extraordinary shapes and these had been named really appropriately. The peacock looked almost as of it had been sculpted. It was an extraordinary haunting place a sea of silence, ancient history and nothingness. It seemed like the had achieved a lot but there was still The Yangguan Pass scenic area which, offered both an ancient Han Beacon and part of the the original Silk Road around which a themed town has been built. The desert a landscape of rolling hills and vegetation had served as a location for Wong Kar Wai’s Kung fu epic ‘Ashes of Time’. Exhausted by the day’s adventure they closed the evening with another take out. Nicholas tried again to post his blog but the problems he has experienced continued and he went to his bed without an update going out onto the world and 3 days behind. He thought his agitation would prevent him from sleeping but his weary bones welcomed his rest.


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