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:
And then I was out there again:
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:
I noticed a road sign that said: “protect animals 保护动物”:
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:
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:
It wasn’t that bad:
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:
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:
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:
It was the settlement of Sitai. A Hui-family served noodles there. They gave me a room:
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.
My feet hurt, and my legs were shaky.
I wasn’t looking forward to tomorrow.