Yesterday, September 6th, was a travel day towards Base Camp. We left Lhasa around 9:00 AM taking the paved Friendship Highway to Shigatse. The altitude is 12,795, a nice gain from Lhasa at 11,000'. The road was mostly smooth but huge potholes had the driver making quick moves. Also the oncoming traffic seemed to view the center line as a guideline not a rule so luckily there was a decent shoulder to use as an additional half lane when needed. Finally we shared the road with tractors, the ubiquitous Toyota Land Cruiser, tourists buses, goats and cows. It was a long 7 hours! The terrain is very rugged but
we enjoyed several great views of workers in a barley field, mustard plants next to a native weed. There were many road side stands with Tibetans selling trinkets. Of course we stopped for photo ops! One amazing sight was that of two Monks prostrating their way to Shigatse. The had left Lhasa three weeks earlier!! The three part movement of hands together, knelling and stretching prone represents the mind, the body and the future.
We ate lunch at the Tibetan version of a truck stop. This was actually a Chinese restaurant - well restaurant is a huge overstatement. It was a short row of mud buildings painted white. The kitchen had a questionable hygiene standard but the service was great. We were served about eight dishes in family style. There was one unidentifiable meat dish, another squishy vegetable dish then some cabbage, tomato and scrambled egg and some other dishes. The mainstay was rice. I ate the rice. I took a lot of pictures but thought it better to show you others. Here are some pictures from the day:
Once in Shigatse we visited the Tashilunpo Monastery. This is the home of the Pancha Lama who selects the next Dalai Lama thus he is basically the number two Lama in the Buddhism. The Monastery has 700 monks and is full of energy!
Tomorrow we continue our journey to BC with a two night stay in Shegar at 14,271'
Please remember, Memories are Everything