Make Way for Tomorrow, Dunhuang!

Today was a big rest day, but I spent a good portion of the it exploring the town, and then met up with the friends that I met in Jiayuguan for dinner.  Like so many other cities in China, Dunhuang is a city in transition, modernizing faster than the locals can keep up.

Here are the photos (remember to click to enlarge):

Tradition meets progress head-on.

The city is developing a new riverfront, however, there was never such a big river here before. There is a spring, which has been used to create these stagnant pools that may look like a river (we are in the middle of an immense desert - there are no rivers here). At any rate, it seems like conspicuous consumption, given the massive sand dunes of the desert in the background.

Homes and shops once occupied the area that is to become the riverfront.

A neighborhood is completely erased to make way for the next thing - mid-rise condos.

People still live in some of the homes in a neighborhood slated for inevitable destruction. Soon. this will be prime condo-land with river views.

These houses were built over centuries, with gradual additions, and are being torn down to make way for the new neighborhoods that will face the new riverfront.

Make way for tomorrow! It's coming fast.

The remnants of a teaching facility, slated for demolition soon.

Everything that can be salvaged from these houses is, or has been.

The destruction is relentless.

Like so many war-torn battle regions, Dunhuang prepares for the future by creating a blank slate.

Encroachment from the 1950s.

Make way for tomorrow: it's happening sooner than most could have ever guessed.

Construction and rendering collide.

The first good bread that I've encountered in quite a while.

Dinner: Lamb and vegetables.

A dish that I'd rather forget.

A mighty feast, courtesy of some local gentlemen.

Our new friends - anxious to meet us, and even more anxious to share.

These men will have no recollection of meeting me in the morning.

Natalie tries to shrug off her new found buddies.

Mickey, the ultimate translator, and cultural ambassador.

8 thoughts on “Make Way for Tomorrow, Dunhuang!

  1. Interesting that the construction workers do not have to wear helmets! (workman’s comp must be different in China!!)

    Is that a big mug of beer in the middle of the table? That was nice of the locals to treat you so well, were they celebrating something or was it just an exciting Sunday night?

    Glad to see you in more photos!

    • Elizabeth,
      you should see the construction workers in Shanghai. Just imagine that building tad is looking at is now 30 floors high, and they are using bamboo scaffolding rather then steel. By the way, they prefer bamboo because if you fall and hit yourself on it, the bamboo is said to be more forgiving. But either way I think you’de be in trouble.

      I hope all is well back in Boston.

  2. The redevelopment in China is pretty brutal. I wonder how long it will be before the house is completely replaced by the mid/high rise apt. block. I was hoping that when I saw your images this far from the eastern coast, that they could potentially be following a different trend in redevelopment. But I guess preservation has no place in china, only money.

    And Mary, I bet the beer was still like water!!

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