At about 10 am I walked over to the buses to Mogao Grottoes and took bus 12 to the site. My tour was at 11:30 so we had to wait for our group to be let in to the place to watch the movies. I slept through the 2nd movie in the 360 degree screen room. After the movies we got on buses to go to the site.
Everything was tightly controlled and no photos were allowed inside the caves. No photos = No fun for me. I was with the English speaking group and there were about 8 of us. The Buddhas and cave paintings were excellent. The big Buddha was spectacular because he was built straight up one wall in a little cave so you had to look straight up to see his huge face. The important caves had police and other guards.
After the tour, I went to KFC for lunch because almost everything else was closed. Then I found Bus 3 that goes to the Mingsha Shan desert and Crescent Moon Lake site.
At Mingsha Shan the lines were short so I got right in. I went straight to the camel tour area where there were thousands of camels. There was a line of camels circling through the desert as far as the eye could see almost. Each group was four camels tied together using the rings in their noses with a guide leading the first camel. I took a lot of fuzzy photos because of the camel rocking but it was great fun.
After the camels I walked over to the crescent lake which was okay but no big deal. Cloudy skies meant gray photos of everything. Hundreds of people were climbing up the sand mountain but I wanted to save that for my 2nd visit and hopefully clearer skies. The tickets allow visits for 3 days.
I took the same bus back to Dunhuang and had dinner at the same meat pocket place from the night before. I only had one fire sandwich this time and then had an ice cream afterward to put out the fire around my mouth. When I was eating the ice cream some teenage girls came over to quiz me and try out their English. They wanted to know where I was from, etc. I made the main girl hold my ice cream while I showed them stuff on my phone such as where Seattle is, etc. My China Unicom data plan had run out so I couldn't translate anything for them.