We finally got onto our road trip. And a little argument with our guide, one of our Landcruisers will have the 5th passenger sitting at the cargo area.
Although there was some tension between our guide and us, we moved quickly onto the bumpy road. Leaving Lhasa, the first scenery that we saw was open fields
of dry land and river. There were some river re-direction projects to bring water into the dry farms.
Climbing up the windy roads to Kangbala Pass (4990m) was quite a drive. We were so amazed that roads were built and paved to the top. Even more amazing,
Tibetan people herd their yaks up this high altitude. We stopped at the Kangbala Pass for rest and pictures. There were about 50-60 local people staying at the pass
to run a tourist business. From selling picture opportunities with their yaks and dogs to managing toilet access for 1 RMB, they were quite some businessmen at this
altitude. I were overwhelmed at the businessmen marketing scams, that I also forgot to enjoy the view offered by this 5000 metre pass.
And from this pass, we could see Yamdroktso Lake down at 4441m. Weaving through these amazingly dangerous mountain highway, we dropped to the lake level to have lunch.
We met a young man, whom I believed he is member of the herding family nearby. He didn't ask for money, but was very curious about us. Most of us shared food with him.
I liked and remembered his smile.
We arrived at Gyantse, a small town, and I started to feel sick and dizzy. I lost my appetite for the day. I bought and breathed in an oxygen bottle. That night I
had very bad dreams, and once I believed some hallucination about some caves, and I was scared.
The next morning (May 1st) we visited Baiju Temple before I left Gyantse. It was my favourite monastery to visit. Although there was a money scam regarding picture taking
in Baiju Temple, I like its architecture the most. There were 108 chapels on 7 storeys. Going through each floor to see different chapels was very intriguing. And the view of
Gyantse once you reached the top was priceless.
We had 4 Landcruisers in our group.
The French brother and sister, Mathieu & Perrina and Me !
Quite some traffic leaving Lhasa.
There were actually a lot of rivers running through Tibet, but don't know why most land looked so dry.
One of the few bridges crossing the river.
Mountains, river and dry land. What a contrast!
Yes, there were a lot of these small tractors running on the highways.
Climbing up to the Kangbala Pass.
Those black dots were herded Yaks.
Looking down to Tamdroktso Lake from Kangbala Pass.
I paid 5 RMB for this picture opportunity with a yak at Kangbala Pass.
See what was going on the Kangbala business circle. Click to play video (12 MB file).
Another 5 RMB for this kid in my picture. No Kidding.
OK. This picture was free of charge.
But this one cost me a fortune, 5 RMB per person and 10 RMB per dog.
It was bloody windy up here.
It was a Tibetan tradition to hang these colourful flags as high as possible for good luck.
These were the 1RMB toilets.
Cairn on top of Kangbala Pass.
Landcruiser and Yamdroktso Lake.
This Tibetan woman was trying to sell every picture opportunity of her yak to tourists.
As I was taking this picture, a woman was running towards me trying to collect money from me.
These were the highway barriers.
This was the young man I was talking about.
He gave me a warm feeling after battling those business-minded Tibetan up at Kangbala.
Let the dirt road begin.
We were climbing again to 5200m.
This was Nojin Kangtsang Glacier reflection.
And of course, me and Nojin Kangtsang Glacier.
Nojin Kangtsang Glacier.
Another Holy Lake on the way to Gyantse.
We stayed in this hotel in Gyantse.
Wei ... come.
We were having Lhasa beer at 4290 metres.
I breathed in some oxygen as I felt sick and dizzy.
Our black Landcruisers was equipped with this almost bald Michelin Tire.
Baiju Temple was classified as "National Treasure".
Prayer wheels at Baiju Temple.
Wanna see them turn ? Click to play video (3.3 MB file).
Hmm.. leave me alone.
108 chapels in 7 storeys, Baiju Temple.
Panchen Lama Buddha.
Staggered Baiju Temple.
Staircase inside Baiju Temple.
Decorated door frame of the chapel.
You can see the Gyantse city wall.
These pair of eyes were what Baiju Temple was famous for.
Me at Baiju Temple.
Zhashenlunbu Monastery at Shigatse.
We then drove to Shigatse to visit Zhashenlunbu Temple, where it occupied 700,000 sq metres. This monastery charged the priciest for taking a picture.
But it also offered the most interesting experience in seeing monks chanting in the temple. We stayed at Shigatse for the night and kept driving towards Tingri.
The next day, I chose to sit the cargo seat as the 5th passenger. It was actually no so bad, I quite enjoyed the roominess and my iPod music. Leaving
Shiagatse, we stopped at Lhatse for lunch, we then finally reached the 5200m high and entered into the Everest (Qumolangma) protected region.
75 RMB to take pictures inside a chapel in Zhashenlunbu.
You rang the bell while going into Zhashenlunbu.
One of the 4 red temples in Zhashenlunbu.
This was the most expensive price so far we had seen.
This wall had been standing for 600 years.
This monk was blowing the horn.
One fo the 4 red temples that allowed tourist inside.
Young monks were waiting outside while senior monks were inside chanting.
These monks do have their social lives indeed.
Those tea bottles were to serve the monks chanting inside.
Shoes off pleaes !
What it said, "Protect the country and benefit the people", a plaque given by the Chinese President Jiang Ze Min.
Chinese President ... Tibetan people don't care.
No. Marco wasn't waiting for the toilet.
Monks were everywhere praying for money.
Local kids at Shigatse.
They seemed happy while we were passing by their neighbourhood.
This house was equipped with aluminum windows. Could be a wealthier family.
Colourful Tibetan flags were on top of every home.
Yes sir, tropper reporting to duty !
This is some Tibetan craftsmanship.
Wutse Hotel at Shigatse provided NOT-so-good service to us.
Clubbing at Shigatse. Me, Marco, Philipp, Alex and Alex.
Yes, I got the back seat.
Tibetan mountains were treeless.
Those were our drivers .
Hey, "Can you guys give us a ride? We have been walking for the whole day...".
There was some farming noticed on the roadside.
Man, it was cold.
Good, there was actually an annual toll charged to these Landcruisers.
Many trucks passed us while we were stopping for a break.
One of them was China Post Truck. You had to admire the driver to drive on these dirt roads to deliver mails.
Another treeless Tibetan mountain.
It looked like everyone was in a hurry.
Suddenly the terrain became a desert.
Nothing but sand.
Came across many of these sheep herd.
The sheperd was weaving the wool in his hands.
"Ken, enjoying so far ?" "Yeah".
The strange thing was that there was water everywhere, but nothing grew here.
It seemed an endless dirt road in front of us.
Wow,.. there were some lives.
Blood in my sneeze !
Toilet condition at the restaurant at Lhatse.
These kids were professional "Hello money !" beggars.
Entering the Quomolangma (Mt. Everest) Protected Area.
Not yet, those peaks were not Everest.
Right at 5220 Metres.
This truck was stuck in the mud, but no one stopped and helped.
People do live here at 5200m, there were at least 4 villages around this area.
Can you see how windy it is ?.
Want a picture of me ?
Really we stopped in the middle of nowhere.
Another "Hello money" kid, walked straight into my signature shadow picture.
This poor guy was almost run over by a speeding truck. He skipped onto the dirt just in time.