In pictures: A trip through China's economic crisis
Yanchi is a major lamb producing area and home to the Tan Yang breed of sheep, whose wool is so naturally curly it looks like dreadlocks. Li Xiao Li is keen that her children to not become sheep farmers like her.
Hai Sheng-jin is one of the many day labourers scratching a living in the bamboo fields of Yinchuan. He owns land but must to work on the farm of another to pay for vital irrigation.
A man performs Taoist Tai Chi exercises in the shadow of a mosque as religions mix in Yinchuan.
On a remote track in Yanchi, a surprising sight - a group of Chinese bikers. Members of the Desert Pumas Motorcycle Club spend tens of thousands of dollars each year ensuring they have the right bike and clothes.
Wearing US army clothing whilst flying the Chinese flag does not seem to present too many contradictions to the Desert Pumas - it is about combining loyalty to China and love of American World War II films.
More motorbike riders, this time in the city of Shizuishan. The city grew from nothing when in 1958 Chairman Mao Zedong decided to put China's energy industry out of range of US President Harry Truman's B52s.
In the Ordos desert truck drivers gather to talk. Top of the agenda? Complaints about wages, working conditions and pollution.
For the last decade Baotou has been one of the top 10 fastest growing cities on Earth. This is King Deer cashmere company, one of the world's biggest knitwear factories.
Baotou is also home to Baotou Steel, a massive privatised metal conglomerate.
And Baotou is located on top of about 60% of the world's rare earth deposits - a key metallic component in many 21st Century technologies.
This Beijing club scene is a far cry from the scenes at the steel works. These clubbers are part of China's growing mass youth culture.
But will China continue to prosper, with exports from Tianjin port down 26% year on year? Paul Mason's journey through China's economic crisis will be on Newsnight on Tuesday 16 June and Wednesday 17 June 2009, then available on the Newsnight website.