Instead, we followed the Hong Kong basketball and boys' volleyball teams to the Singing Sand Ravine, a scenic tourist site in the Kubuqi Desert. It is about an hour away from Baotou city centre and is quite unknown to most people.
The athletes brought laughs and cheers to the land of absolute silence. All the athletes were happy and carefree while visiting the desert. After focusing on the competition for more than 10 days, they could finally relax and enjoy themselves. Competitions for the three teams (boys' and girls' basketball and boys' volleyball) had finished the day before.
Basketball player Karton Ma Ho-chun was very excited about his desert visit.
"I thought nothing lived in the desert and I really enjoyed the endless scenic view of the sand," said the Form Five student from La Salle College. "I used the desert kart, which was really fast. But the most exciting part of the tour was probably the sand skiing. We skied down a slope really fast."
A sand skier slides down a sand dune on a wooden tray, clutching their haversacks to their chest.
Karton almost missed the downtime with his teammates as he hurt his left leg in competition, but luckily the physiotherapist allowed him to go after a check-up before the tour.
The students also tried camel riding and had a rough journey on the sand in a huge car designed for the desert. It could carry more than 20 people. They also went on a train journey and watched actors line up along the railway line and perform everyday scenes from the region. The coaches and students had a great time together, even though the trip lasted just four hours. For the athletes, there were no winners or losers while playing the sandy games.
And it was also a good decision to let the teenagers experience the culture and climate of Inner Mongolia.
What's more, they brought a desert sun tan back to Hong Kong!