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Exploring "the Sea of Death"

The Taklamakan Desert in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is known as the Sea of Death from which nobody escapes. It is a frightening place for most people, but for the ltalian woman explorer Carla Perrotti, it is a challenge that she had long dreamed of.

"I have dreamed of conquering this second largest desert of the world for many years," Carla said, "and to prove that we are able to walk out of it."

Over the past few decades, 51-year-old Carla has left her footprints in many big deserts of the world, and has become a well known figure in the desert exploration field.

On Nov. 1998, she successfully walked out of the Taklamakan Desert after trekking 550 kilometers in 24 days. She is the first to walk through the desert alone.

Two years ago, she explored the Kalahari Desert in Botswana and fixed the Taklamakan as her next target. The Kalahari Desert is one of the deserts in the world with the worst natural conditions, and Carla had spent 15 days there, trudging over 300 kilometers.

In the Taklamakan Desert, there are poisonous snakes and frequent sand storms, and explorers have to bear lots of tortures such as water shortage and great temperature difference between boiling heat and freezing cold from day to night. After two years of physical exercises and technical preparations, Carla was finally ready for the new adventure. She started from Hotan to the south of the desert on October 26. Her 16-kilo-pack was filled with food, clothing, tent, a cellular phone, camera and video camera.

The sun rises at 9 o'clock in the morning in the desert, and Carla would usually start her journey an hour later. After three hours of walking, she would take a ten minute break and then start again. "Daytime is very short in the desert, and I try to walk as much as I can," Carla later told reporters. At around 5:30 p.m., she would begin to put up her tent for the night.

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