Invitation to spend the night with farmers – Wednesday 22.4

The following day we got up and made an oatmeal breakfast with brown sugar, or red sugar as they call it in China. Oatmeal is great. Lightweight, quick to make and lots of energy.

We started walking and had a really dusty day ahead of us. The dust is hard to describe, so check these two pictures. One is of my foot stepping in to some sand or dust. The other of the dust getting between my toes. This is not traditional sand, but very finely grained sand which I call dust. It reminded me of the cement dust used to make cement which takes days to settle. Yes – it also gets anywhere and everywhere.

The dust is called loess and has blown all the way from Siberia during many Ice Ages.

As the day went on I noticed the frequent noise of jet planes high above us making their way to and from Beijing. These planes follow the Silk Route for some reason. I thought of the day I will eventually be sitting on a flight back to Norway and made a mental note to make sure to think about the people that might be treading slowly along The Great Wall.

I also noticed that the ground was full of last year’s plants. Some of them have been harvested and only 2-3 cm (an inch) of really hard stalks stick up. We are both glad we have brought extra ground sheets for our tents as I expect there will be a lot of wear and tear on them.

We ended the day by being invited to stay with some local farmers. It was fun to see how they lived and it seemed they enjoyed spending time with us too. In fact they had invited lots of friends to have a look at the foreigners so the crowd was in constant rotation.

It was a good thing we spent the night indoors because that night there was a sandstorm. It didn’t last for long but it swept sand high into the air. This sand usually takes 2-3 days to settle and makes it colder on the ground and also limits visibility.