Tibet Day 4

Continued from Tibet Day 3.

Woke up to another beautiful day of altitude headache. I will say though, it has gotten better over the past few days. Look at the blue sky!

We’ve got a day of sitting in a car ahead of us. We are heading out of town to one of the holy lakes of Tibet. There is supposedly 10 hours worth of driving involved today….Ugh.

Our ride for the trip. Cool, a Land Cruiser. When I had booked the tour, the travel agency had noted that our trips outside of Lhasa would include a Land Cruiser. I guess they literally mean Land Cruiser.

Our Land Cruiser even comes with an alt meter!! No, we are not below sea level, we are almost at 4000m.

When we got in our car, our guide asked us if we would prefer to see another lake, Yamdrok lake instead of Namtso lake. The drive would be only about 6 hours instead of 10 and Yamdrok is known to have really blue water. Yes please!

Our guide told us that this is one of the spots where they allow water burials. Tibetans do water burials or sky burials. What this means is that an undertaker cuts up the body and crushes the bones to powder, then the chopped up body gets fed to vultures or fish. Supposedly, undertakers and blacksmiths are not looked upon favorably, so their families often marry each other. Undertakers are said to be blessed with good looks because they are, well, undertakers. On another note, nomads often marry farmers.

Road block.

Dry yak dung for fire source. The nomads trade yak dung and milk to farmers for feed and other stuff for their yaks.

In order to get to the lake, we need to go through a mountain pass, Gampa pass.

This means a whole lot of switchbacks and hairpins. It was quite scary because our driver took the turns very quickly. One mistake, and we’d plunge off the edge to our deaths. The seat belts also did not work in the car…not that it would help if we were to plunge off the edge.

The scenery is absolutely amazing over here though.

Just passed 4000 meters.

You can pay to ride a yak or get your photo taken with one.

How many Land Cruisers can you spot?

The yaks have their horns etched and also have long marked earrings so people know who they belong to. They seem to roam wild over here, out in the open country with no one in sight to keep track on them. Our guide said that yaks know to come home…eventually…but if they don’t, then the owners have to go out looking for them. How do you look for a yak out in open country with mountains after mountains?

Piss break.

Higher and higher we go.

Almost to the top!

Made it to the top!!

There’s a child sitting in the middle! I didn’t even realize until I looked at the photos afterwards.

Yamdrok lake, one of the 3 holy lakes of Tibet. The water is this crazy turquoise color. Our guide said that it is not even very blue today because there are clouds in the sky. On a cloudless day, the lake gets even more unbelievably blue.

Time for our restroom break. A short walk, but a very tiring short walk, to the restroom.

Probably the highest restroom I’ll ever use on land.

Also probably the most disgusting restroom I’ll ever use as well. It was filthy. And because the air is so thin here, I couldn’t hold my breathe long enough for the whole duration! Damnit! Ugh.

Believe it or not, RL saw these photos, and said that the women’s bathroom was even more disgusting. Ughhhhhh!!! Gross!!

We both feel disgusting from using that restroom. What better way to deal with that than to eat a Snickers bar…

I’ve never seen bodies of water in this color before. Incredible.

You can also see the mountain range in the background with snow capped peaks.

This lake is pretty awesome. Definitely worth the long drive over here.

Back to the car and heading back to the peak of the pass. It’s over 4500m at the top of the pass.

Holy shit, this guy biked all the way to the top of the pass. Holy shit!! I don’t know how he was able to do this with the low oxygen levels!!

The flora of the mountains. Thin layers of soil and some grass on them.

We drank from this bottle at the top of the pass, and as we started our descent, the bottle started getting crushed.

Back to flatter ground.

RL and I both fell asleep on the way back to Lhasa, only to be woken up by sounds of Tibetan music. Our driver and guide had started watching a music video of Tibetan music. Interesting tidbit. Our guide said that there are many dance clubs in Lhasa, and that the girls wear traditional Tibetan dresses there and do traditional Tibetan dances. What?? You mean, they get drunk and then do these traditional Tibetan dances instead of booty grinding dances? Mind blown.

A check point before getting back into Lhasa. Our passports and our Tibet Permit are both checked and registered, yet again.

Back to Lhasa.

We had wanted to try yak milk when we got to Lhasa, so our guide took us to this place right by our hotel.

I hope I don’t get sick from eating here.

Food safety grade of C. Shit…I really hope I don’t get sick here.

When the milk came out, it was steaming hot. Our guide said that they boil the milk to sterilize it. Ok, that’s a good sign, but what’s not a good sign is that there are things floating in the milk…Let’s just hope that it’s residue from the pot…Yak milk tastes very delicious. It’s richer than cow’s milk and also sweet. We both liked it a lot.

We weren’t about to risk getting sick eating at that other restaurant with the yak milk, so we came here instead to have lunch.

This is to help sanitize the food.

So hungry, and so good!!! They’ve got a lot of Indian and Nepali food influences over here in Tibet.

Fuck! I banged my head straight onto the low ceiling. RL is laughing at me. It hurts!!!

Did a little browsing here. Turquoise Monopoly Square…I guess this means prices are exorbitantly high.

Sigh. Monks eating ice cream. This just seems wrong. They are supposed to be ascetics and give up the finer things in life!!! That’s the whole fucking point!!

One of the overland adventure buses is also staying at our hotel. I bet these things are super fun if you are willing to rough it a little.

Came back to our hotel and napped. So tired. We are ready to leave Lhasa and go to somewhere with more oxygen.

Too lazy to go far for dinner, so went to try the place next to our hotel. Here, we find all the Westerners in Lhasa. I guess they are all staying next door at our hotel.

The food here is twice the price of all the other restaurants that we’ve visited in Lhasa, and the food is just meh. My yak burger had the patty made of yak momo spiced meat. It just did not taste right at all.

Our guide told us that Tibetans like to drink barley beers, such as this one. At 2.5% alcohol, I would need to drink like 20 of these to get drunk.

Tomorrow, heading out of the highlands and back into the lowlands where I don’t have a splitting headache everyday.

To be continued at Xi’an Day 1.

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