Lee's Travels: The Gobi Desert

Hey AWS,

I hope all is well on the river back home. I've been away from the internet for a little while so I have a couple of neat things to share and catch up on. A few days ago I traveled from Beijing to Yinchuan and from there crossed into the far western region of inner Mongolia, once again crossing the Great Wall. Out here, the wall is made of sand and packed clay. There is still copious amounts of food available to us, even here in the desert, probably because we continue to be associated with Chinese Government. I have trouble turning down food because I don't want to be rude.

In this region, the government is primarily focused on preventing the desert from encroaching on the towns and the farms. Here there is only 25 centimeters of water per year and, because of this, vegetation has a difficult time surviving. In addition, most of the water that is needed for agriculture is drawn from the ground reducing areas that might be able to support vegetation. With the lack of vegetation, the wind simply carries the sand where ever it wants to.

In this picture I am standing in the Gobi Desert. It is vast and there are sand dunes, the tallest in the world, for as far as you can see. Then you turn around and there is someone's farm. The government is working in partnership with NGOs to encourage and financially support "peasants" to use water conserving methods of irrigation.

In this picture you can see the traditional method of farming corn on the left, which is simply to use aqueducts to flood the field, whereas on the right there are tubes placed under plastic that release water into the ground near the plants. As a result, the method uses half the amount of water and the plants grow larger. The mountains to the East supply much of the ground water in this region and therefore reforestation is also a project that local officials and larger government work on together.

The Chinese government is making the nomadic people sell their animals and move to government housing projects because the animals eat too much vegetation on the mountains, thus reducing the amount of ground water that will reach the towns. Above is a picture of some Mongol structures that I thought were neat. Eventually these folks will "assimilate" into society. Attitudes are very interesting here, and very different than those attitudes toward minorities that we hold in the US, and in some ways our results are very similar. Again, I look forward to our symposium in Shanghai where we can talk candidly about these differences and our issues. I'm sure my perspective will be stretched.

Signing off,
June 15, 2010

In this picture I am trying to stand on my hands on the South East side of the mountains just 30 Kilometers from the encroaching desert.


Lee's Travels: The Gobi Desert | anacostiaws.org

Very energetic post, I loved that bit.Will thsre be a part 2?

Lee's Travels: The Gobi Desert | anacostiaws.org

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Lee's Travels: The Gobi Desert | anacostiaws.org

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Lee's Travels: The Gobi Desert | anacostiaws.org

Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You definitely know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

Lee's Travels: The Gobi Desert | anacostiaws.org

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Valuable info. Lucky me I discovered your website by accident, and I'm stunned why this coincidence did not came about earlier! I bookmarked it.

Hi Lee! Enjoyed reading

Hi Lee!

Enjoyed reading about your travels....look forward to talking in person.  China is a unique place, isn't it??:)

zi jian!


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