So, the only down side to the Tibet experience so far is the noise in the hotel. No idea what is going on here but it seems everyone is knocking and banging on doors all through the night and into the morning (I am told its the Chinese!). In some instances I was woken with the distinct feeling that someone was trying to get in the room, hopefully a drunken mistake, only when I out the light on did they move away, but thankfully there are enough chains and locks to keep anyone out!! sadly it doesn’t keep the noise out, as TVs are blaring at 3am. So needless to say sleep is not in abundance.
Breakfast as well is ok, but not much on offer. I learnt quickly that the toaster needs careful watching and have cremated a fair few pieces of bread in 2 days. Every time I touch anything I get a static shock as well so I keep it all to a minimum. But its enough to keep me going on our 3hr magical mystery tour to see the yaks (and I am sure a few other things too!).
We head out of town, and the countryside is lovely although the mountains are baron and brown as they move into winter. We soon see people walking towards us in groups, this is more people doing their prostrations, in the form this time of walking around a sacred mountain. Now this is a good 6hr walk and some do this more than once and its all ages from young children to very elderly people with walking sticks, like I said before great exercise and amazing devotion.
We work our way up the mountains, the peak being 5000m above sea level which well, its pretty high! On the way we stop at what is a tourist attraction, great look out point but also massive dogs that look like lions, and you pay to take photos of them. Weird isn’t the word, but it certainly appeals to the Chinese tourist market as I see one woman with 4 dogs up on a monument acting a bit like she’s a model or royalty on a photo shoot, being admired and having photos taken with the animals. Quite surreal!
It was here that Nora and I shared a new experience, the communal Tibetan toilet!! With just a blanket over the door I nearly walked in on an unsuspecting girl, after she left I went in thinking it was one hole in the ground, but was actually 2 and was surprised when Nora (not batting an eyelid) just popped in next to me!! haha, well I guess now our travelling relationship is cememted, we’ve done it all together lol…
We continue further round, and the view is stunning once we get to see the lake. There are lots of wild Yaks just grazing around taking it easy! Yamdok is the name and this is a sacred lake blessed (which according to Facebook is in Japan… oops I don’t think so!!) by the Dalia Lama, so basically no one swims in it. Well supposedly no one, but apparently a Chinese tourist took her clothes off, went swimming and made a youtube video of it. Needless to say a lot of “bad karma” was directed at her for that slight on Buddism in Tibet! By the lake you can take a Yak ride, bit like Donkey’s on the beach in Blackpool… ok, well maybe not, but you know what I mean. It was well worth the drive to not only get to the lake, but also to see more rural life in Tibet.
In the evening we take a walk down to the Palace gate Stupa, which apparently has a great view of the palace at night, well it does when its not closed at 7pm! So we stick to the view from the street, mistimed a little bit and there too early, so Nora and I circle the main square to keep warm until everything is lit up. Its certainly a lovely view and worth freezing a little to get the photo. Heading back and with the Tibetan Family Kitchen still very much closed we pop into the Lhasa kitchen for a final meal, and keep it simple with some warming soup and spring rolls again, but Nora is still hungry and adds a plate of chips! Paying however proves a bit more problematic as we are basically pushed out of the way by a large group of teenagers, much to the annoyance of the staff in the restaurant who seem to just ignore them and sort us out anyway.
So that was the last night in Tibet, a short but lovely visit to a special place!