Nicholas Quirke was saying goodbye to the delights of Dunhuang and bound for Xining on 2 October 2020. The flight was not till the afternoon which had left them some time to explore the city. The first thing on the agenda was to return the hire car to the station and then they planned to revisit the river in daylight. The river walk had some pavilions, plenty of murals depicting the Mogao caves and the routes of the Silk Road which followed one route from Xi’an to Dunhuang and then diverged north west, south west and central. The most surprising element of the walk was the discovery of a cross river maze of stepping stones and planks to numerous platforms. With a blithe spirit they took to the challenge of traversing the river in this way but it actually turned out to be a little scary and not that easy. The anxiety of balancing properly added to the fun. They had a delicious lunch of spicy noodles and seiten, checked out of the hotel and headed to the airport. It was a swift but turbulent flight both temperamentally and weather wise. Nicholas had a passenger behind who kept kicking the seat. To try a side stop he reclined his seat but when it kept happening he reclined it even further and the people behind pushed it up and a row started with Peng telling them to desist kicking. As they disembarked a stare off occurred which he was pleased to win. Xining is the largest city and capital of Qinghai Province and is located on the Tibetan plateau Their hotel seemed grand and the room comfortable and he hoped that the WiFi would be equally polished. His hopes of getting a blog out were dashed and he found himself 4 days behind on publishing. They went to find something light to eat but the restaurant which Peng wanted to eat at had a 3 hour waiting list and they made do with a snack of sweet potato fries at Dicos. instead. There was a drop in temperature though it did not stop them walking along the river before retiring for the night. It was an early start in the morning and both were anxious to get an early night and though sleep beckoned he still attempted to publish the blog but to no avail the early night slipped into midnight before he shut his eyes.


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