Early train to Dunhuang leaves at 7:16 am so I left the hotel at 6:00 when it was still a little dark. Not much traffic on a Sunday morning but I flagged down a taxi before I got to the big street. He immediately start going the opposite direction of the train station so I had to straighten him out.
On the train, some kids of about 2 to 5 years old took an interest in me and started bringing me their snacks to share. They were delighted to give me little cookies and stuff.
The train ride was about five hours but it wasn't totally packed so I could stretch out a little. The scenery wasn't great, just a bunch of scrubby semi-desert.
In Dunhuang, I got on the minibus to go the 10 kms from the train station to the city. I was able to get off close to the hotel when another guy got off. The hotel wasn't at the map location but I eventually found it. It's on the edge of town and there wasn't much around it.
I asked the hotel lady for help booking the Mogao Cave tour since you are supposed to have an advance reservation. She directed me to the ticket office which was only about 3 long blocks away. I got a regular ticket for the next day even though I read that they are usually sold out for about a week in advance.
In the evening I walked around Dunhuang and realized what the people are talking about when they say that Dunhuang is a charming little city. It has a huge Food Street and Night Market that go on and on. I had some huge, delicious meat pockets for dinner and some of the thick yogurt drinks that I really like. The glass yogurt bottles have to be returned so I hung around and ate near the little store that sells them.