Sittng here, sipping coffee at the Green House Coffee shop in Yinchuan, I am reflecting on the amazing experience of coming to Ningxia. I am so grateful to my friend and host, Haixia He, and her wonderful husband Tao.
Of the many remarkable experiences we had and places we visited, the most unusual was the desert playground, Shapotou. It is situated where the Yellow River meets the Tenggar Desert, a near perfect sand ocean as harsh and unforgiving as the scenes depicted in Lawrence of Arabia. By contrast, the Yellow River is glowing golden hues and surrounded by soft green trees and shrubs, a real oasis. It’s been shaped into an amusement park, with bungee jumping, sand sliding, camel rides and jeep tours.
We had the honor of riding on ancient-style river rafts, used on the Yellow River for more than 2,000 years. They are wooden structures that achieve buoyancy with the aid of 14 inflated sheepskins Yes, they are large sheep balloons. What a once-in-a-lifetime unforgettable experience!