Shapotou Dunes & Mountains

Shapotou Dunes & Mountains
Originally uploaded by paulbrockmann.

Essentially, what was Shapotou desert research center – founded to

figure out how to prevent the desert from its continued growth into

previously productive regions – has grown with the addition of what

amounts to a desert amusement park. You can rent slides and slide down

the dunes (reminding me of riding the dunes at White Sands outside

Alamogordo with my nephew and niece), you can hook yourself into a

harness and fly down a high wire from the top of the dunes to a

platform across the river, and so on. Or you can ride these rafts,

that attach a wooden infrastructure to sheepskins. And when I say

sheepskin, I mean it literally: these wooden platforms are lashed on

top of what look nine dead, hairless sheep. Rather an odd feeling, but

yes – never one to shy away from new experiences, I can now say that

I’ve both ridden the high wire high above the Yellow River, and rafted

on dead sheepskins down it. And, as you’ll see, ridden horses through

its dunes with some friends from my guesthouse.

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