friend with wings

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I woke up at night only to jot down some lines into my little notebook:

When I left, the settlement was still asleep:


The little shops and eating places lay quietly against the backdrop of the Gobi desert and the mountains:

BBQ place

And then I was out there again:

mountains in the distance

The green turned to brown again:


All the while, I was struggling hard with the road, because the incline was very steep.

I knew I would have to climb from about 400m above sea level to more than 2200m within the next two days.

The Caboose suddenly seemed very heavy.

One time a car stopped and I took a photo with these two:

These two stopped to take a picture with me

I noticed a road sign that said: “protect animals 保护动物”:

protect wildlife

And just as I had come to the conclusion that there were really no animals to protect anywhere around, I noticed this fellow:


He kept me company for about two or three kilometers. He would fly next to me, then sit down somewhere and wait for me to catch up. I would talk to him. He would weakly crow. I felt like it was a sort of friendship.

When it got almost unbearably hot at noon, I found a gap in the barbed wire next to the freeway. Big trucks were running through the gap and off into the desert:

truck in the dust

I didn’t know where they were going. So I decided to follow in their tracks:

A gasoline truck was parked somewhere next to the road:


Perfect! I stretched out in its shade, put my feet up:

But it didn’t last long. Eventually the driver appeared out of nowhere and said he had to go. And of course he took his truck with him.

I resorted to a ditch under the freeway:

resting place

It wasn’t that bad:

noon nap

At least the sun didn’t get under there.

I stayed for a few hours. Tried to get some sleep. Then I pulled the Caboose out of her resting spot and made my way back to the road:

She didn’t like it.

We ran into a family whose car had broken down in the middle of the road:

their car broke down

And since I had a lot of water in the Caboose, I offered them some. This was actually the first time I had ever been able to help anyone out here in the Gobi. And how good it felt!

Of course I got my picture taken:


And then I was out there again. No people, no birds, just the occasional vehicle rushing by:

straight road

And I was gaining altitude by the meter, and the Caboose kept getting heavier and heavier.

When the sun was about to set, I passed a group of camels:


There was a tiny shop there with two dudes hanging out on the porch:


One of them was a Mongol, the other was a Hui.

The camels didn’t belong to them. But they had a few sheep. I tried to play with one of the sheep:

But it didn’t work. Maybe I was too nerdy.

I walked until the moon was up, a shiny bright crescent, a promise of cool mountain nights:


And a while later, when the sky had gone all black, I was finally able to make out some lights in the distance:

Sitai at night

It was the settlement of Sitai. A Hui-family served noodles there. They gave me a room:

pointing finger

I got a watering pot, washed my hands, arms, face and neck, then I sat down to eat.

My current altitude was 1200m. I had made it almost half way.

altitude from August 21st, 2012

My feet hurt, and my legs were shaky.

I wasn’t looking forward to tomorrow.

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