We left Lhatse after lunch, and went through a long strech of bumpy road. We arrived at Tingri, a small village town, where there were a few shops and restaurant.
Most tourists stopped here before they hit Basecamp. So were we staying at the "no-hot-water" hotel.
I went out with the French to the main street looking to buy some dry food for the next day, as we were told that food would not be good at Rongpuk Monastery Guest House.
We met a young lady from the village who was fetching water from a stream outside of the hotel. The first thing she asked us, surprisingly, "What is you name ?, Where are you
from?" in English. She didn't ask for any money, but asked us for pencils and paper.
We went to the shop and got some biscuits, pencils, and peanuts. On the way back to the hotel. We met up with the young lady again. We took some pictures and
gave her the pencils that we bought for her.
The next day, we drove through border control to the Everest (Quomolangma) area. Up the pass, we stopped and observed Mt. Everest from far. It was an awesome
viewpoint. There were about over 100 tourists taking pictures, strolling around and buying souvenirs. After 30 minutes or so, as we decided to leave the viewpoint
to Rongpuk, our funniest unfortunate car accident happened. The white Landcruisers (part of our group) that carried Marco, Philip, Alex and Mira, rolled down the hill, hit the rock
wall and dropped about 3 metres. All this happened without the engine running. We believed the driver to have no power-steering and brakes because the engine was
not even started.
This went by very fast, as I saw the Landcruiser went by me from no more than 2 metres. Bang !! It looked very scary that as if the Landcruiser was going to roll
downhill all the way or flip over. Fortunately, no one got hurt, 4 passengers, the driver and the Landcruiser survivied this "reality" crash test. It passed spectacularly.
In the following hour, other drivers, tourists, and local people were trying to help to recover the Landcruiser. Struggling with more bystanders then actual helpers,
we managed to borrow some basic tools from the locals and finally off-loaded the Landcruiser to safety. The same driver was brave enough to climb back to the truck and drove it away.
A total success!
Gael was trying out the shopowners' motorcycle.
She was fetching water from this stream.
Stayed in this hotel.
See the young lady carrying the bucket of water on her back ....
The terrain was getting drier and drier.
Border control by the Chinese Army (not supposed to take pictures here).
The extremely windy roads get us to the pass.
Not so fast, more switchbacks.
Da..dun .....Mt. Everest. In Tibetan, they called it "Quomolangma"
Everest Click to play video (5.7 MB file).
You can tell from my facial expression, I was feeling a bit light-headed because of the altitude (at 5000m).
Rock pile at the view point.
Every peak has a name.
Watching Everest from far made me feel so calm.
What a wonder!
This is what we are coming for.
Free picture opportunity.
This was the accident. All passengers were still inside the Landcruiser at the moment.
Driver was safe !.
"Landcruiser" and the Everest.
I guess a picture does speak a thousand words.
Damn. Looking at it now is different.
Everyone was discussing how to recover the Landcruiser.
Everest on the windshield.
A mixed feeling when we were looking at it. Scary and funny.
Yes, the Landcruiser survived.
The same driver was brave enough to drive off the truck.
2 other Landcruisers was used to secure the fallen one.
Amazingly, the Landcruiser sustained no damage at all.
This was the aftermath.
Lady at the farming village on the way to Rongpuk.
Everest was still so beautiful.
Tibetan woman at the farming village.
More Tibetan kids
We went on to Rongpuk Monastery after another 40 km of rough roads. There we found ourselves at a gate where we had to change our transportation to a designated "Environmental Friendly"
bus, where it would bring us into the Protected Area. We were all confused after only 10 of us could squeeze into the bus with our lugguage. Arguing with the officials, we mananged to
bribe them to allow our own Landcruisers to go through. It was a total classic chinese local authority lawless scam.
Another Landcruiser of our group broke down just 500 metres in front of Rongpuk. After all, we managed to check into the guesthouse and had lunch. Going to Basecamp would be our
next item on the itinerary. And, of course, we ran into some hurdles of dealing with the horse arrangement. From the monastery to Basecamp was about 8km far. To walk, it would take
us 2 to 3 hours. If we chose to ride the horses, it would take us about 1 hour. Most of us were impatient and worried about not being able to get to Basecamp before dark. Some even
suggested that we should drivr our Landcruisers to the Basecamp (we saw a police car carrying tourist go through). Fortunately, all of us were able to get the Basecamp before dark by horses.
It was dusty.
This was the "Environmental Friendly" bus. Can you believe this?
Our lugguage were stacked at the front seat of the bus.
Getting closer and closer to Everest.
Ah .. a different Landcruiser broke down.
... right in front of the monastery.
Egg Fried Rice (lunch) at the Rongpuk Monastery Guest house.
Read the notice carefully.
This was the police car carrying tourists passed through the "Restricted Access" sign.
Riding the horse up to Basecamp.
Me and the French dad on the horse ride.
I was actually commanding the horse up to Basecamp
See our horse ride? Click to play video (6.2 MB file).
My signature shadow .... while commanding the horse.
The terrain around Everest gave me a feel of isolation.
It seemed there was absolutely no lives at all.
Finally we were at the Everest Basecamp.
We got shops, post office and even hotels here.
Frank, Philip, me and Alex at Everest Basecamp (5300m).
A bit unexpected with so much commercialization at this altitude.
Yes, I was sure that Everest was behind this fog.
Perhaps this was the highest Post Office in the world.
Solar energy were widely used here.
The snowmelt provided the watersource.
A long strech of teahouses and restaurants at Basecamp.
Looking back at the valley that we came up from.
Our tibetan horseman.
No kidding, they were running a business here .... at 17000 feet altitude.
Everest at dawn (6:30am May 4).
Young kid at the village.
Lunch at Tingri on the way back. Yak curry with rice and potatoes.
A traditional setup at a Tibetan restaurant. The stove was in the middle (Yak dunk was used as fuel).
You have to admire these big trucks passing through this horrible terrain.
The moment you got off the car, ...kids were coming at you ....