Locations: Mingsha, Gansu, China (40°5'18"N 94°40'33"E )
Date: 5 June 2004; 8.00pm
Camera: EOS 300D with kit lens
China, the 3rd largest country in the world has a few big deserts including the Taklamakan which covers a major part of Xinjiang and part of Gansu province. The Mingsha Desert in Gansu is at the eastern reach of the desert, circling the oasis town of Dunhuang. The Mingsha (“Singing Sands”) Desert is named for the sound that the sands produce when blown by the winds. It boasts some of the highest sand dunes in the world, at an average of 1,200 meters above sea level. The Mingsha is one of the major attractions of Dunhuang, lying along the ancient Silk Route between China and the West. The edges of the dunes are sharply shaped by the winds with clear edges and corners. I made the mistake of walking on the sand dunes in sandals on a hot May afternoon. The sands are so hot and soft that there are like molten sand that one’s foot just sinks into. And of course, it is burning hot to the bare feet in a pair of sandals. I virtually hopped down the dunes looking for a gravel patch to rescue my feet! Having learnt that, the next time I visited, I made sure that I wore a pair of socks even in sandals to avoid direct contact with the sands.