I was teaching language methodology in Urumqi for the summer and our host (the department head) decided to drive us out to Hami and Tulupan for the day. We had not left this city of over 1 million people in a month so th 4 hour trek out through the Taklimakan Desert was even more amazing that we had anticipated. We were used to seeing camels in town, especially in Uyghur markets and we saw a few dejected camels available for rides in Tulupan. Our guide got all excited and said he "knew a guy." We had a great time trying 30 kinds of raisins, learning a Mashraf dance performance and seeing the reburied mummies (write me if you want to read something controversial!) and on the way back to the city, we stopped in the middle of nowhere and this guy shows up. We drove right into the desert and there were about a dozen camels in a pen made of rope and a few boards and we took a ride! It was so awesome. I have no pictures from that trip but I included the one above, because that is where we were and that is what we were riding. The camels weren't accustomed to strangers. It was scary as hell.