Friday, September 24, 2010

Continuing through the Silk Road

And so, the next stops included cities along and around the Gobi. 天池, was a lake in the middle of the mountains and was highly celebrated in chinese literature, the scenery can be comparable to Lake Louise in Canada. 交河古城 was an ancient city ruins that dated back 2000 yrs ago, and it was amazing that it didn't require artificial maintenance all through these yrs due to the very dry weather. It gave a very solitary and sad feeling as we toured the ruins, and I must say it's even better than the pile of stones from Greece's Ephesus and Patheon (toured in 2k2).
Next were the famous 阳关, 玉门关, 嘉舆关 that formed the great 'impregnable' gates of where the great wall was first built to fend off foreign invaders back in the ancient Chun/Ming dynasty. It was a very majestic sight as we all know that it eventually led to the construction of one of the greatest wonders of the world. On this side, we were also able to climb and take pictures to our heart's content, unlike other parts of the wall where there's a sea of people trying to climb over you. However, the 2000 or so steps we climbed were quite steep and it did tire my kneecaps and hamstring for the remainder of the trip despite the fact I do gym regularly. Although the weather was nice and there were no rain; it was still a very rough climbing experience and only 6 out of the 27 ppl in our group was able to climb to to the top. Some of the other groups were grounded and didn't even attempt the climb.
To end this stop and before we headed onto the Orient express train to the next stop in the desert for DunHuang, we visited the natural grape fields and a local Turpan's home. One of the locals spoke mandarin and urged us to perform traditional XinJiang dances with him; and before I knew it, he isolated me out and asked me to follow his dance steps - it turned out that I was doing a proposal dance for his sister singing the following lyrics in Uyghur dialect: 'I have a grape field, a house, a motorcycle; all XinJiang ladies come to me, but will you take my hand?'


可可 said...

Wow. 2000 steps. Glad you made it. The work-out and jogging probably helped. :) So was the great wall really impressive when you saw it with your own eyes? Was this part of the great wall empty (not many tourists) because of the 2000 steps?

I can't wait till seeing pics and hearing stories for your next stop!

Edmlee said...

Yup! the great wall looks stunningly beautiful :)

Gd question! There wasn't much tourists except for our group (the orient express train) since it's in the middle of the desert and quite difficult to commute to.