From Urumqi we took a bus ride to Dunhuang in Gansu province. There are no direct trains to Dunhuang so the bus it was. It took 17 hours.
About 2h into the bus ride a truck hit our bus and broke the side mirror. The truck driver refused to pay for the damages (¥2000) so the police was called. We had to wait 2h in the scorching XinJiang wasteland.
At about midnight one of the passenger, a 20 sth year old Chinese male who looked like he was travelling around China suddenly freaked out that he lost his ID. For the next 2 hours he screamed, yelled at his mother on the phone at a really high pitch, screamed at the driver to stop. “剎車！＂on the highway, repeatedly smoke even though the driver told him to stop and punched / kicked the seats in front of him so hard the seats actually broke. ( it was a fairly new bus). If I was the driver I would have kicked him out. Anyways he clearly didn’t lose his ID since we got stopped by the police later on to check for IDs. That guy was clearly insane.
We got to Dunhuang at 9am and decided to do nothing that day. This turned out to be a terrible decision which I greatly regret as the following 2 days was pouring rain. This meant the famous Mogao Caves 莫高窟 which contains probably the best Buddhist art in the world was closed. ( also largely the reason we went to Dunhuang in the first place).
When the rain slowed, we went to the Singing Sand Dunes and Crescent Moon Springs （鳴沙山，月牙泉). The admission fee was ¥120 pp unless you are a student in a Chinese university. I managed to convince the ticket lady both our BCIT card was a HK uni ID. We only paid ¥60 each!
City ends, desert begin:
The dunes are really cool because they are literally right next to the city and are huge! Way bigger than the ones I saw in Oregon. Some people were riding camels and dune buggies. We just hiked up the dunes and ran down them. It was quite fun.
Next to the dunes is the crescent spring which has formed a small oasis. Of course, this being China someone in the past decided I build a temple and pagoda.
Dunhuang is a nice little city. They have a great covered food stands area where you can eat real cheap and has all the cuisines of china. The boardwalk by the river is quite pleasant as well.