Across Continents

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Road to hell

"The reward of suffering is experience" – Aeschylus the Greek

The Gobi proper. A harsh, arid desert. Negligible vegetation, few settlements. Far more remote, hostile places exist. And yet it engenders a strong sense of loneliness. Vulnerability. Its openness, much of it featureless, stretching far out of sight. Appearing to be never-ending. Sapping the resolve of the solo traveller. Exacerbated by the constant wind. Little diminished by the frequent passing of lorries.

The carriageway soon fades. Then a traffic jam. Lorries backed up, for several kilometres at least. A few drivers choose not to wait, passing perilously close to those waiting patiently, presumably hopeful of no sudden oncoming traffic. The few cars on the road share my vulnerability in the chaos. Combined effect of roadworks ahead and the only fuel stop for miles. Beyond it, the last vestiges of tarmac disappear. Rough, unmade road, potholed, dusty. For sixty miles. The road to hell.



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