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I walked on the edge of desert

After I had finished the photo session in Kashgar, Xinjian region of China, I had taken a train for 20 hours and got to Shanshan near Tolufan city. It's like a "Why not video taping also gourmet information program besides taping the travel matter?" I was something like a low budget TV crew. Yes, I'm "Dune mania" I believe it must began in my first experience of dune in Canary Islands. I have been fascinating by the dune since then.

7 years has passed since I made the photo slide work which was titled "Dune". Dune of Tottori and Enshu grand dune (both of them are in Japan) or Muine beach in Vietnam .... I've visited some dunes here and there even after the dune project had done. Maybe, I like the slow time which is flowing on the dune. People never interrupt each other and enjoy their own time. This is a common picture on the dune.

"I don't need so many massive dunes but just one dune which has perfect silhouette" I had thought like that until seeing dune of Shanshan.
However great scenery of the dunes blew it off. Then it changed to the thought nothing was more impressive than power of full volume. That's not like small sand dunes on the beach. It's an edge of desert. The giant sand hills rose behind the Shanshan city.

Its scale was so amazing. The dunes on the hills were at least 100 meter in height. (Actually, it's very difficult estimating exact scale of this natural object. It also looked like more than 300 meter height) I climbed up giant dune breathlessly. Then I mounted at the top of the dune carefully not to falling off.
"Yes, I conquered the top of giant dune"
However, I laughed looking at the perspectives behind it. Why did I? Because thousands of super 100 meter class dunes were stretched out to the horizon.

According to my observation, there was each character for each dune in the world. The sands of Shanshan had fine grain. Generally, desert in Xinjian region was not consist of the sand dunes but the soil. So most of the cities in Xinjian region were dusty. It's also main reason why the yellowish sands are blown from the continent far away to Japan every spring. The sands is so powdered. The dunes of Shanshan was made by the powdery soil.
This character clearly effected to the shape of dunes. It didn't have a clear wind mark like the Sahara. No sharp edge was made. So the dunes were rounded off. And more than that, it's hard to climb up. I writhed like an ant which was captured by an ant lion. The colors of sand must be the important character of dune too. The Shanshan's was brown to the red and white in Sahara, the yellow in Canary Islands, the pink in Arcachon of France and the gray in Tottori, Japan.

I was fascinated by the magnificence and took shutters. "Oh! My poor camera which is always used in such dusty condition" The sun was going down to the west. To know the returning point is also important for the sand dune trekking. It's so regrettable but I returned following the wood branch mark I left on coming way. Then I bowed to the dunes at the exit. This is "the road of dune trekking"

Sep. 2006

Today's piece
"Dune" Shanshan, Xinjiang region, China 2006


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