Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Day 6 - 骆驼! (Camels!)

When we finally got there, we got on the bus and drove for a while but our tour guide let us check into our hotel and shower and change. The train ride was great, but there's nothing like a shower to make you feel better after two long days.
For lunch, they took us to a local family, where we could help make dumplings and they had a surprise for us. At the beginning of the trip, they told us that we wouldn't be able to ride camels, it would be too expensive. So when we went to eat lunch at the family, which had a camel farm, they said that we would be able to. Yay!
We'll they took us out to one of the saddling places and one by one, or sometimes in packs of two, they would bring out the camels. I've seen pictures of camels before and I've seen them in movies, but seeing them right in front of me is nothing like I imagined. These things were huge, and when I say huge, they were kind of scary. They were such interesting creatures though, each very different, and some of their facial features and expressions were comical.
They let us get on them one by one, where the first group set off and then finally we were all saddled as well. The way camels get up is weird and interesting. It's like they have four knees, first you go forward, then it feels like your falling backwards, and then forwards again, till your finally upright.
And then we started, it was definitely an experience. Riding a camel is nothing like a horse. It is smooth yet rocky, relaxing and fun.
They let us ride the camels for a while. We rode them through this cemetery of a kind. I believe it was were all the past travelers and natives were buried. It was so cool looking, each plot has a stone and a wall surrounding it. You could see plots for miles and miles and each had its own wall or surrounding rocks.
After a while we got to the desert and they let us dismount and climb the dunes. As before I was again amazed at the deserts beauty and how calm and peaceful everything was. These dunes are humongous and so cool to run down from. One of our friends decided to climb the highest and then run down it, we didn't see him for a while and thought the worst, but finally we heard a celebratory scream, I guess he didn't get dragged into the sand.
Our ride back was just as awesome and I must say riding camels has been one of the coolest and neatest things I've ever done.
When we got back they had lunch ready for us and we ate so many dumplings.
We went for a walk, exploring the little village. They were drying corn and cotton in every front lawn. I never figured out what they would use the corn for.
They gave us the rest of the afternoon off and we set out exploring the town and looking for souvenirs. It was a small town so it didn't take us long, but we found out they had a night market. We went back to our hotel and relaxed for a while and later that night went out again and went to the night market. It was cool seeing all the souvenirs here compared to back in Shanghai. Its so interesting to see the cultural difference of one country.

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