Margaret is a Hong Kong-based design photographer and writer. For collaboration, please contact maleemaleehong@gmail.com

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Helios Runner

Every single day in Hong Kong now I feel the exact same as I was in the Silk Road more than 10 years ago. 40 degree celsius was legitimately boiling for people who used to live by the coast back then.  My parents, precisely my father, loved the historical, ancient, mysterious kind of traveling locations, which, took us to both the east and the west side of China, regardless the extreme weather.

As a kid who barely knew the Chinese history and geography, everything seemed so different and unreal. I had never seen ancient cave filled with Buddhism related arts, ‘enlarged sand castles’, camels…sand hills……9 suns………mum?! Yes, I fainted.

China is the country where modern development does not shed the historical colouring underneath. I could still picture horses marching towards the gates and soldiers down the watchtowers ambitiously waiting for commands to enter the battlefield. The momentum continued in the mausoleum, the museum showcasing the countless unique terracotta army tailored made for the after life of the Qin Emperor. Together with thousands of wife and other luxury, the mausoleum is exaggeratedly massive. As a kid without much knowledge about this particular part of the history, the only reaction I had was feeling shocked with my mouth opened.

Moving on to the city of beef noodles. The noodle itself is called the ‘la mien’, making of which requires hand-stretching of the dough to increase the gluten. And the result of that? It gives a chewy texture in the special secret soup with beef and sprinkle of scallion on top.

This is the sort of gourmet that is perfect for every situation, even when you are sick. I had a fever at this point of the trip and normal medication didn’t help. Then, I was sent to hospital for injection (though I ABSOLUTELY refused it and insisted that medication would do). Guess what, the injection was useless, TOTALLY useless. Then, someone in the group kindly gave my parents some Chinese medicine, claiming that it helped. As predicted, I got better hours after taking this mysterious pill.

So I am experienced to tell you two things. One is that Chinese medicine is really good at doing its job (which you have no idea what it is made of or how strong the side-effect would be), even more effective than injection. The other is that this gourmet is REALLY good.

I enjoyed being in Dunhuang the most because finally there was a place for a little bit of fun. I did camel-riding for the first time in my life! OMG! I was 10 and when my dad said he would do it with me if I wanted to try, I was like ‘no big deal’, isn’t it?’. It was not that scary but it was not comfortable either. The moment when the camel rose, I felt the centrifugal force. And it was so bumpy for every step it took.

Next was sand-sliding. When I was small, slides were always my favourite (actually they still are), like playground slides and waterslides. Yet, I was always too light to fully enjoy the excitement. That’s why I loved this sand-sliding so much. I was given a wooden board to sit on, which reduces the friction between my bump and the sand. And I could finally feel the speed! Thanks!

Mogao Caves is a must-go attraction. The sculptures, literature, arts and murals are exclusive in Dunhuang. If you are interested in history, Buddhism, Dunhuang Studies and stuff like that, pay a visit! As for a 10-year-old kid, I guess i would use the phrase ‘broaden my horizon’ to end this up.

Turpan is all about Gaochang Gucheng (高昌古城) and the Flaming Mountain (火焰山). That is to say, Turpan is all about the technique of surviving in extreme weather.

We were so desperate to get our dry lips hydrated when we were in the Flaming Mountain. Then, we took out the lipstick from our bags. Then, opened the lid. Then, it had melted already.

Can I get on the bus please, mum?

This part of China is more exotic because of the hybrid culture, the combination between Chinese and the Mongolians. I liked it because the clothing of the natives is very distinctive as colourful, shiny, accessorized and patterned. I didn’t try that on but I bought the special ethnic head accessory in pink as a souvenir. Their homes are also very unique which look like plain doom shaped tents on the outside, small but complete. I don’t know if the traditional yurts are still available for tourists nowadays. Back in the days, we could have a taste of the freshly made goat milk inside these colourful houses, without air-conditioning for sure. And had a traditional meal. The goat milk is, errrr, depending on your preference, strong to me.

It's Margaret here, from Hong Kong. Love fashion, good wine, dreaming and this blog. Cheers!

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