July 19: Dunhuang, China
7:00. I’m up and waiting for in the lobby for two of the others. I’d like to get some toilet paper from the truck (it’s not always supplied in Chinese hotels) but I don’t feel like dealing with the dozen or so tourists who are posing for photos with our truck.
7:40 Still no sign of James and Rodney so I head out alone.
8:00 It’s still fairly early but already the crowds are insane. I take a golf cart from the geopark entrance to the crescent lake and oasis where there are at least one hundred tour guides, megaphones in hand, leading groups of 10, 20 and 50 people out to the dunes. I can’t help but compare this to the surreal time I had at sand dunes near Huacachina, Peru and on New Zealand’s north island. Quite simply, it just doesn’t compare. I want to scream “get me outta here.”
16:00 On the way back from a late lunch I run into Jason (our Chinese guide) as he attempts to hail a cab. I join him and head downtown for the evening.
19:00 I come across a cafe with English signage and menus so I order a fried egg, tomato and cheddar sandwich. When the sandwich is delivered to my table I take one look at it and realize there is no cheddar. I can’t seem to get anyone’s attention and it’s been so long since I had a fried egg sandwich that I scarf it down, minus the cheddar. When it comes time to pay, I mention to the cashier that I didn’t get any cheddar. She doesn’t understand. I grab a menu to show her the word cheddar in the description of the sandwich but am shocked to find no mention of cheddar whatsoever. Did I dream this? Not only do they not have cheddar, they don’t have the slightest idea what it is. I might be losing it.