Location: Inner Mongolia
After watching the sunrise right outside of our yurt at 5:07 a.m., we went on our way to the desert. The drive was a solid five hours, which was a little much but, of course, we made the most of it. The desert was nothing like we had expected. We took a gondola over the dunes, and then we hopped on the car-boat that took us to the main area. All the while, we were wearing these funny looking sock-boots over our shoes to keep the silky, fine sand out. None of us expected that we would be doing anything other than taking pictures, so it was a pleasant surprise when we heard that we had access to everything in the park. We chose to go zip-lining and ride the camels. These were random things to do in the middle of a desert, but they were very cool. The zip-lining part was a short distance, but it was nice riding over the dunes and looking side-to-side to see the beautiful scenery. Our group was split up for the camel rides, but everyone had an amazing experience. After our fun in the desert, we traveled another couple of hours to Chengis Khan’s tomb. No one, including the Mongols, know where he is buried. The tour was interesting yet challenging to appreciate because we were all so exhausted. We had the option to walk through another museum at the tomb, but it was evident that everyone was worn out after a long day of being in the sun’s intense heat and long bus rides. The ride back to the hotel in Baotou was another two long hours, so some of us passed the time by playing games while others listened to music or slept. I’m not going to lie; it was an exhausting day of fun; hence (speaking for the whole group) we couldn’t wait to jump into our beds. As Shaun recently said, “the adventure doesn’t begin until something goes wrong.” Nothing went wrong, but the obstacle we all have to overcome is this period of exhaustion during the final stretch of this life-changing trip.