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The Resonant Sand Gorge Adventure

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya Deserts! Let's talk about deserts! Where do you go if you want bright blue skies, sand that will scorch your naked feet, a billion other tourists that want the same and most importantly of all, no rain? You go to the desert right? No you don't. You don't go to the desert. Why don't you go to the desert? You don't go to the desert because it rains in the desert! After yesterday's awesome weather and the locals boasting that they haven't had rain for many many years we awoke at half past five to a very gloomy sky. Yes, I was awake at half five because the locals also boasted about their spectacular sunrises so what best to do than wake to see such an event. Mate I could have sworn I was home in Victoria on a happy winter morning. There was no sunrise, the sky just got brighter which in turn made the overcast sky look more dreadful and grey. Around seven, Beauty Tour Girl dropped in and we all headed to the only restaurant for pretty much the same as the night before. Though the food was the same the group was completely different. We had all bonded and happily it was a close and infectious bonding. The Aunties and bonded with Lou Wei like it was for real and Father and Son (Mantau (big bread bun) and Xiao Wugui (Little Turtle)) and taken to her like father and brother. I was caught somewhere in the middle. Everyone had taken to me but as usual upon such a short meeting no one really knew what to do with me. I knew enough Chinese to answer many question but not enough to sit and have a conversation so thankfully Luo Wei was near and all were happy! Around nine found us one the road passing through some of the most amazing scenery. As we passed beneath huge, green and strangely shaped mountains for most of the journey drifted somewhere between being awake and asleep. Around eleven our happy little tour van arrived at the Resonant Sand Gorge (Xiangshawan). The first thing you say when you see this place is pretty much the same as I said when I arrived at Yongding and saw my first Tolou (Hakke People's Earth Building) and that was; What the f*&k! Wouldya look at that! Here we were in Inner Mongolia, upon the endless grasslands and right before our eyes (or tour van) was a part of the Kubuqi Desert with sand dunes that rose up to one hundred and ten meters high. Somethings are just a little hard to take and this was one of them. Thankfully our tour price included the entrance fee along with the delicious lunch that we sat for prior to digging my sandals into what were supposed to be, never ending shifting sands. But today it would take more than our foot steps to shift these rain drenched sands! Anyhow, I found this on the net and it pretty much says what I began to write. You all read enough of my jibber so it will be nice to read someone elses for a change. The Resonant Sand Gorge is a very popular destination in this region of Inner Mongolia, which in China always means there is both an unbelievably big assortment of tourist facilities as well as a similarly unbelievable big assortment of entrance tickets. The cheapest option to enter the gorge and adjoining sand dunes by buying an entrance ticket and crossing the steep canyon walls on foot. This is what we did, but it is really quite dangerous. (Ha Ha, as we were in a tour van we were dropped off at the front gate and after lunch we all jumped in the big sand jeep and had a blast as it took us up the one hundred and ten meter sand dune. It was totally awsome...kind of like being in a speed boat but on sand...shane) There are no stairs, just some kind of rickety old rope ladder which is certainly unsuitable for small children and the elderly. Of course there is another option; you can cross the valley using the cable way which costs extra. On a hot day, this is money well spent, because after a rope ladder descent along the rocks, the next challenge of climbing the one hundred and ten meter sand dune in the burning sun is one you can do without. I expected a magnificent view of the desert scenery, once over the top of that sand wall, but in fact (and I could've guessed that!) there was nothing short of desert theme park. There are jeeps, karts, sand ski's, sand sleds, ball games and so on. There's even a modern desert hotel building, a supermarket and large souvenir hall. So much for a serene nature's wonderland... (I'm a bit confused with the above paragraph as the hotel, supermarket and souvenir hall are actually all down the bottom of the sand wall near the front gate and ticket box...shane). The two most interesting things to do are the jeep trail, which takes you on a wild ride over some of the steep sandbanks and secondly, the camelback tour to an ancient desert village. Although I always feel that a whole range of tourist facilities like this are rather unfavorable to the natural experience, some of them are quite useful. It was a sunny August day when we visited the desert and the scorching heat was really beyond imagination. It doesn't matter how many bottles of water you carry with you, it's never enough. When the warm wind that blows over the barren dunes it dehydrates you like a giant hairdryer so bless the drink vendors! The Resonant Sand Gorge carries this odd name, because it is said that the echo of the sand that moves in wind creates a Shhhh-sound that reverberates through the gorge. And because of the structure of the rocky left side of the gorge and the changes in the wind, that sound can become very melodious with tones similar to that of a pan flute. Just as all the other visitors there, I was very keen on hearing the song of the sand (as the signs poetically call it) and we all listened very carefully at various places in and around the gorge. Maybe the wind wasn't right, maybe the buzz of the many tourists to loud, or maybe it's just one more of those fantastic Chinese folk tales; but the sand was as quiet as a mouse. Beers N Noodles toya.....shane _________________________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was by.the powerful Slayer The album was 'Reign In Blood' __________________________________________________________

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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