Cycling The Silk Road In China – The Windy Desert, Urumqi To Turpan
What a day… Urumqi to Turpan.
We cycled through seventy-five kilometers of desert…. With seriously strong winds.
You want to know the plus?
The wind was on our tail, pushing me at 30 KM per hours up the hills.
It may sound effortless, but the wind was blowing so hard, that I was covered in dust and small pebbles hit my expose skin.
Holding my breaks on the down hills, to prevent my bike from going 50 KM per hour, and navigating a safe passage on the badly pothole national road, had turned out to be quite a challenge too.
Later a light rain started, and the wind intensified, but it was soon back to dry windy desert.
The name of this area, not to be confused with the Gobi desert, which we left behind now, is the Gebi (stony) desert.
As we reached Dabancheng, we came upon three old ladies who were setting up a street stall selling broad dried beans, cold drinks and from an aluminum cooler, they served me their home-made yogurt. (none of the boys tried it)
It was most yummy and refreshing.
We ate a good lunch in Dabancheng along the way.
A dish of spicy potatoes and peppers.
Another dish of green zucchini.
A dish of cooked fresh mushroom.
A dish of sautéed spinach, and wide noodles which we soaked in the mushroom sauce.
The dry heat of the air in Turpan is hard to describe….. It is desert hot…. It is REALLY HOT….
We checked into our hotel, took a good shower, and left for dinner.
Dinner was superb.
The lady at the restaurant made us vegetarian dumplings which were not on the menu, but since they make their dumplings to order, wrapping and filling included, she was happy to oblige.
The dumplings are boiled, and we dipped them in a mixture of soy and hot chillies.
One kind of dumplings were filled with cooked daikon radish and the other with spinach and celery.
We also tried for the first time “smashed tofu” with scallions.
It is traditionally a dish that is served cold, and it was also wonderful.
After dinner, we took a long walk along the main town’s square.
Every night, the locals come out to the square to enjoy the relatively cooler temperatures, to socialize and to have a good time.
They dress up in their best clothing and dress their children in beautiful clothes.
The girls were dressed in tutus and looked like butterflies.
They buy ice creams and balloons, have their photo taken in front of the fountain-lake, ride the merry-go-round….
It felt so innocent and sweet… Like stepping back in time into a more child-like times…. When small things made people happy….
It helped me remember my own sweet childhood… And how I used to delight in a set of matches that my dad used to bring from the hotels he traveled to…… Or how delighted I was if he brought paper coasters or napkins, with a logo on them, to add to my “collection”…..
Tonight I go to bed vowing to remember to re-cultivate the consciousness of childhood….