Crossing tibet

Because there is no wordpress access in china (or facebook, twitter youtube etc.), this post is copypasted through my friend. I will add pics and make some changes when i can.

It has been a while since i made any progress to reach ten grand. After arriving to kathmandu, i’ve been mostly arranging my tour through tibet, and after i reached china, i’m puzzled how to continue from here.

My itinerary relies on the important rohloff spare parts which haven’t arrived yet, plus the vaccination against rabies is still in progress. But for that i may need to explain a bit more. So here’s the adventure from tibet:

My sceptism towards crossing tibet with bicycle cargo wasn’t misjudged. The first attempt to cross the chinese border from nepal was doomed for few reasons. Main reason was, that my name (with another dutch traveler) was missing from the tour list. Although problem could’ve been solved at the border with few phone calls, the chinese guide refused to take us on board. The same jerk head was staring at my cycle in “how do you think that’s gonna fit in my car” -way. So that day me, my bicycle and the dutch lady got “free” 8 hour bumpy jeep ride to the border and back.

Next attempt (with argued 10% tour disount) was much better. After crossing the bridge of friendship (where our guide got ass kicked by a chinese guard), seven travelers from different travel agencies were passed over into the hands of another chinese guide and a driver. This time thay picked us up with ford transit, and because smaller number of people, fitting bicycle into the van was easy job.

WARNING FOR CYCLISTS! Admitting bicycle on board isn’t a 100 % thing, so I guess I was lucky to make it on a second attempt.

That first day we continued our way up to 3700 m altitude, where we stayed at one hotel’s dormitory. The night was cold, around zero degrees, but our group’s giggling over wc-humour kept our minds warm.

The next day we drove twice up to 5000 metres. As for the landscape it didn’t much differ from the ones in iran, but my lungs felt a big change. Though I didn’t get altitude sickness I was so afraid of,  I did get another unwanted thing. Our lunch stop in one tibetan village left a street dog’s tooth hole in my pants.

On my way to the rest room a harmless looking small dog attacked me from behind, and bit first to my left calf, and then to the right one. The left bite broke my skin, the right one didn’t even make a hole in Fjallraven fabric. This event, along with a thought of a warm shower made our second day drive continue all the way to Shigatse, the second largest city in tibet. Here we stayed for two nights, did a nice monastery peak, and i got my vaccines against rabies.

The fourth day we drove only 90km to another town, where we visited another monastery and above all, the local hotel had a tub! In fact, the hotel rooms were much nicer through out the journey I though they would be, and apart from the first night we were placed in double /triple rooms. The only problem was the temperature in them, because none of the rooms were heated. Enjoying your luxury room in 2 degrees isn’t that glorious. At all.

The fifth day we drove again up to 5K, and the scenery was awesome. Clear skies during whole trip made the views absolutely fantastic, and if it wasn’t that dog, I would’ve enjoyed it even more.

The roads were mostly in perfect condition, which made me a bit sad I wasn’t allowed to cross this scenery on a bicycle. After 2008 no solo travelers have been allowed to enter tibet and all cycle tours are of course organized during summer time. I don’t know their costs, but they surely ain’t cheap. Anyways, on the evening of the fifth day we arrived to Lhasa, where I needed to get the second injection.

Actually, I was very close to get even the third and fourth stabs in Lhasa, because my train connection to mainland China was fully booked. The next available direct train to Chengdu was on the new year’s eve, but after my another quarrel with the travel agency they got one seat on promised date. So this left two whole days to check out two monasteries, the Putala palace, and local cooking skills. Must say, that those chicken sizzlers were delicious after Indian and Nepalese cuisines.

The seven nights eight days tibet tour was finished, and I was happy to do it. Our group was great to hang out with, and our guide explained many details about tibet with a good English.

On eight day morning I cycled to the train station, but about the unforgettable train ride you can read from ovi blog.

I will write more about China later on. Now I have to figure out where from here.

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