We knew things weren’t going to be easy during the next 120k, so we had made some preparations:
– 24 cans of congee 八宝粥,
– 30l drinking water + 1 extra water gallon,
– 2 plastic chairs,
– 1 huge sun shade,
– a large mat to lay down on,
– lots and lots of “france bread” and some muffins,
…well, and a badminton set.
Then we set out into the blue morning:
…there was some foreshadowing of a weather change though:
Something to keep in mind.
Before we left the city limits, we came to a Buddhist temple called Buddha Temple 大佛寺:
Master Yuan 袁老师 showed us around:
What a nice man. While walking on crutches, he didn’t seem to get tired at all, leading us through Heaven and through Hell, patiently explaining some of the deities and concepts – and we did our best to understand.
Then we left the fruitful bosom of the city and ventured out into the wild:
…doesn’t look like much on a photograph, now does it?
How about this instead:
That’s right. Sandstorm.
Sometimes, things can only get better.
Everyone had told us that there were “absolutely no people” on the road ahead.
But we sure as hell found some folks selling melons somewhere out there next to the toll station:
They had their local produce – Nancha Hami Melon 南岔哈密瓜:
The most tasty melon I have ever tried. No joke, no exaggeration, really, the best.
We stayed for what seemed like hours and devoured more of those super-melons than we probably should have.
Then we got on our way again….
As a rule, things can always get worse.
You see, our Cucumber broke down right then and right there:
Yep. And it wasn’t just a flat tire. It was something way more mysterious – the Cucumber was about to die and we felt it.
But what were we supposed to do – out there in the Gobi desert:
We fixed the damn thing as well as we could, walked for a couple of hours and then we found a place to pitch a tent.
…things can always get worse…
The tent situation:
I only have a lightweight one-man tent – not enough room to fit two people inside.
So my brother had initially bought a cheap standard tent and brought it along.
The only problem:
The poor thing couldn’t withstand the sandstorm. We couldn’t even pitch it.
So it was the one-man tent for the both of us.
…remember the rule…
As if this hot hell wasn’t screwed up enough by itself, my poor Robozwerg had caught too much sand in his eyes and was really having a bad time. We tried rinsing with some of our drinking water, but that didn’t seem to help. The poor guy just couldn’t keep his eyes open. I told him to sleep.
I was a bit worried.
…things can always get worse…
Later I found out that my GPS had failed to record 25km of today’s track. There are really not enough f-words to describe the motherfucking mental anguish I went through when I realized that my long red line was about to be cut in half. I wasn’t going to let that happen!
So now you’re probably looking at today’s map, or maybe you even have the Google Earth file down – and you’re thinking: “how come there doesn’t seem to be a gap in the track?”
“Mmmmmmmmmmmmhhhhh, France Bread!”