It took only minutes to clear customs. Since we were spending the night in Beijing before continuing to the hunting area, we left our guns and ammunition with the airport police so we wouldn't have to deal with them at the hotel. We stayed at the Swissotel that night and the next morning took a three-hour flight to Dunhuang, the capitol of Gansu Province, very close to the Chinese Gobi desert. With us came Zeidae Zhang from Wei's team as field organizer and interpreter.
When we arrived in Dunhuang, we met part of the camp staff, managed by camp chief Maha, and after lunch continued on to camp. The trip from Dunhuang to camp in a Toyota 4 x 4 took about seven hours, part of which was cross-country. As I said, we were close to the Gobi desert, so the ground was sandy and sometimes soft. We got stuck often, which is why the trip took so long, despite being only about 187 miles.
Camp was located at 13,000 feet and consisted of four spacious military-like tents and one yurt with a wood-burning stove inside. One of the tents served as the kitchen and dining room, and the others were for hunters and staff. The tents had beds with reasonably clean sheets. Although I brought one, a sleeping bag was unnecessary. The temperature inside the tent was warm enough to make me put off the blanket. Outside was another story. We had snow two days, and it was usually windy.........(continued)