Cycling in the Gobi desert, is everything I thought it would be….
It is hot, dry, incredibly dusty…..and with roads that are so bad, they gave up on fixing them, and created a new sleek expressway instead.
Being on bicycles, we stay away from the expressway and we cycle on the rugged roads.
There are huge potholes and trucks that do not move an inch.
The truckers wave at me with enthusiastic friendliness, as they almost run me over…
They raise thumbs up in the air or yell encouraging words to cheer me up, as they blow their engine and honk they loud horns to salute me.
We stop to refill our water bottles from the support van very often.
There is no food or stores to buy water anywhere in sight for many miles.
We spot a beautiful Mosque along our route.
The minarets pierce into the heavens….
We stop to photograph the beautiful mosque, and the people come out and gather around us in curiosity.
We are the only Western tourists that ever visited this remote Mosque.
They tell us that today they celebrate the completion of the renovations, and they have food and drink…. We must stay and refresh.
We were prepared not to eat lunch today, since we knew no restaurants exist in the desert, so we brought with us dried fruit and snacks for the day.
We are happy to accept their invitation to have tea.
Tea comes in abundance.
They fill your cup the minute you drink half an inch of tea.
They spread the table with fried bread sticks, sliced spicy cucumber, sliced tomatoes sprinkled with sugar (In China, a tomato is always eaten sweet), baked flat bread, and an assortment of meats.
We eat answer questions and say many thanks.
It is a 1400 years old Mosque and they tell us at the coffin in the beautiful tomb, has the remaining bones of the representative of the Prophet Mohamed, who was sent to China to teach Islam to the people.
Their friendliness and hospitality is so heart warming.
The head of the Mosque, finishes his prayers and tell us that he hopes that one day America and China will work together as one…. One happy family… As in truth, we are ONE human family….
We thank him again and again…. We leave feeling wonderful and refreshed.
A great desert hospitality.