This province has a rich variety of landscapes, incorporating parts of the vast steppes of the Mongolian Plain, the high ridges of the Tibetan Plateau, the quicksands of the Gobi Desert and the majestic Huang He River. Vivid mountains clothed in neat terraces remind the onlooker of the spined backs of dinosaurs; closer to they look like gigantic, peaceful stalagmites with the silhouettes of fabulous monsters. At certain points they change colour from terracotta to bright yellow, green and red. The Yellow River, the Great Mother River or Huang He, as the Chinese call it, is not always true to its name as it varies from transparent lilac to rich azure. This region, known as the ‘golden section’ of the Silk Road, between China and Central Asia, has been a link between our two regions since ancient times. In some places Gansu reminds us strongly of our native Kazakhstan, with its wide-open steppes, horses and nomads’ yurts. This area is also known for the extraction of non-ferrous metals, the production of grain, and has its own Baikonur, the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre, in the heart of the Gobi Desert.