The theme of the day is the desert. We first visited the Mogao Caves (莫高窟) , where it was home to close to 500 caves, the earliest carved out over 1700 years ago and used as a place of worship and meditation for Buddhism followers. It was pretty amazing, as everything in there has not been restored and was in their ORIGINAL state. Spanning multiple dynasties and years of abuse from the elements, this place is really a marvel of the history. The paintings were tattered and torn, but some of the colours, particularly the teals, still shone so vividly and unlike anything you’d see in current artforms. No pictures were allowed, so you’d have to come here yourself!
We also saw this cool cave which depicted, nope not the Chinese zodiac…. but the 12 constellations! In a wall painting well over a thousand years old, apparently the concept of constellations, was at one point in time, known to Chinese people!?!? Cool!
The evening was even cooler…. we rode camels out to go camping in the desert!! After reaching camp, we climbed up a 60degree slant of a sand dune to watch the sunset, risking the world’s worst wedgie by tobogganing back down to a wonderful meal of boiled potatoes and instant noodles. Then we just laid down and watched the blanket of stars above us. The skies were so clear, and we managed to catch a few shooting stars fluttering across the skies! Aaahhhhh…sweet.
I mean, it was all cool and stuff, but one thing I realized is that I’m amazed at the ability of people in the past and their adaptability, and willingness to go sooooo far and soooo long over such difficult terrain….. Pretty amazing what civilizations of the past were able to do, and the artefacts that they left behind…..