Cycling The Silk Road In China – Eating Dust And Desert Hospitality
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 stopped 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 spotted a beautiful Mosque along our route.
The minarets pierce high into the heavens.
We stopped to photograph the beautiful mosque, and the people came out and gathered around us in curiosity.
We are the only Western tourists that who ever visited this remote Mosque.
They told us that today they are celebrating the completion of the renovations, and that they have food and drink and that we must stay and refresh ourselves.
We were prepared not to eat lunch today, since we knew that no restaurants exists in the desert, so we brought with us some dried fruit and snacks for the day.
We were happy to accept their invitation to have tea.
Tea came flowing in in great abundance.
They filled our cups again the minute we drank half an inch of tea.
They spread the table with fried bread sticks, slices of spicy cucumber, sliced tomatoes sprinkled with sugar (In China, a tomato is always eaten sweet), baked flat bread, and an assortment of meats.
We ate and answered questions and gave many thanks.
It is a 1400 years old Mosque and they told us that the coffin inside 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 was so heart warming.
The head of the Mosque, finished his prayers and told us that he hoped that one day America and China will work together as one.
One happy family.
As in truth, we are ONE human family.
We thanked him again and again.
We left feeling wonderful and refreshed.
A great desert hospitality.