On the Road in China: The New Silk Road

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Route 312, as it runs through the Gobi Desert. Rob Gifford, NPR hide caption

ยป SEE A MAP OF GIFFORD'S JOURNEY, MORE ON THE SERIES
itoggle caption Rob Gifford, NPR
NPR's Rob Gifford plays tourist in the sand dunes of China's Gobi Desert.

NPR's Rob Gifford plays tourist in the sand dunes of China's Gobi Desert. Liang Yan, for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Liang Yan, for NPR

To reach the cities and tourist attractions of western China, the well-to-do travel by plane. But for most travelers crossing parts of the sun-baked Gobi Desert, there's the bus. (Camels are reserved mostly for tourists now.)

Rickety vehicles ply Route 312, which parallels the old Silk Road, carrying traders who deal in cell phones rather than silk and spices, and construction workers heading toward government-funded projects farther west.

NPR's Rob Gifford has this, his fifth report in a series of seven about his 3,000-mile journey across China.

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