I spent the last week touring the Gobi desert with three other backpackers, my wife Katie and a driver named Balgay. One of those three other backpackers was Ruby Tsai, from Taiwan. We climbed to the top of a sand dune, watching the sun go down over this marvelous land, and recorded a podcast. She's currently on her way to England, via the Trans-Siberian railroad. We talked about her trip, and she gave me some great tips for visiting Myanmar, as well as her native Taiwan.
My plane took off from Chennai, and I was on my way home for the summer. But I had one last pit stop to make – a three-day layover in Dubai. I was excited – this was my first trip to the Middle East. But when I booked my flight, I didn't think about the consequences of being in a Muslim country during Ramadan.
While traveling through the Ningxia semi-autonomous region in north-central China, I had the opportunity to check out a unique site. Shui Dong Gou (水洞沟) is one of the oldest Paleolithic excavations in all of China. It features ancient skulls and tools, as well as some models of old houses. But mostly, Shui Dong Gou has become a tourist haven, with nonstop fun for everyone. Sometimes it was hard to tell what was original and what was a recreation, but Shui Dong Gou still made for an interesting day away from the big city. Did I mention there were tractor rides?