17 days in tibet

CIAO! sorry about the absence – no such luck about kidnapping or being left for dead halfway up mt everest. tibet [china] didnt think this site was ‘appropriate’ so i wasnt able to access it during the last few wks.

now back in kathmandu, i am free to dribble again. tibet is/was not an easy place to get in and out of. special permits are needed to visit most places, the high altitude can make such simple tasks as walking up stairs difficult, and seeing the erosion of tibetan culture as the chinese slowly [or rather quickly] take over the place and build concrete stuff over tibetan villages.

to get into tibet i had to take a ‘tour’, which consisted of a cavalcade of jeeps which travelled down the bumpy tibet/nepal ‘friendship highway’ for 4 days. i only threw up twice on the road [alt sickness, we were at about 5000m at times – once there, once back…and the driver wasnt too happy about the rice particles on his new jeep], and one early morning secret spew before my dorm mates woke up. but this was all so minor compared to the stomach/bowel issues others had [by the end of the journey, discussions re bowel movements were quite normal].

comfort issues aside, tibet was a pretty cool adventure – road treks off the beaten track are always accompanied by dodgy toilets, bland food, and the occasional spew. the tibetan landscape out side the city is rocky mountains – many of them snow capped, high mountain passes with tibetan prayer flags strewn around the place, 14th century monastaries perched on hard to reach mountain tops, and turqouise lakes.

this is all very nice, but only when when your bus doesnt get bogged half way up a high mountain, forcing one to trek from about 4000m to 4500m, in the rain, whilst wearing an inappropriate skirt and a handbag [even the monks hiking alongside us laughed at me]

and it is also all very nice when you block out the smell [stench] of yak butter, which lingers over all of these landscapes. more about this next.

here in kathmandu i am now recovering from the 20hr overland journey over the border which consisted of a 2 hr hike in the freezing cold, a jeep, a bus, and a jeep. the first jeep leg was a cross country journey, going down steep hills and rocky river beds for a couple of hours – no paved, nor even unsealed, roads [the driver assured us it was a shortcut]. i have had my latte and cake for breakfast so now all is well.

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