Wednesday, August 25, 2010
After a super Tibetan meal last night, giant fried momos (sylbanet or something like that) and a bit of a delay in the airport we were off to Lhasa from Kathmandu around lunch time. They said the weather was bad in Lhasa, and after hearing of two planes crashed yesterday we were happy to wait. Then all of a sudden it was all systems go. As we spiralled up out of Kathmandu valley we breached the clouds and as we flew to the East we could just glimpse the tops of some really big mountains, one of them must have been Everest!! As we flew onwards the clouds thinned and we could see the arid mountains and flooded valleys below. As we neared Lhasa the flood of the Bramaputra filled the whole valley but it looked like a regular occurrence as the roads were skirting the edge and the bridge spanned the entire width of the valley floor. We spiralled down again and then we had arrived! We were greeted at the airport by Gongcho our guide and lots of white scarves! There was a 65km drive up to the city, alongside the flood plain and buddhas carved on the rocks and distant prayer flags on mountain tops, looking like myriad spiders' webs. The city was something of a surprise! Lots of low rise fairly modern buildings and shops, but we caught a glimpse of the Potala Palace where we will visit tomorrow. A swift check in (to a cigarette small impregnated room!) and we went out to find some dinner, wandering through the little alley ways of old Lhasa up to Barkhour square. I was quite shocked by the number of security cameras and military police in full riot gear! Gongcho took us past hundreds of little stalls full of really beautiful things - necklaces, buddhist cymbals, bells, fruit and much more. We ended up at a local restaurant which ace! No momos tonight but lots of noodle soup, of various descriptions and also yak - in the soup and also as milk in the tea - tasted quite goaty! Amazingly it only cost us 1GBP each!! Nick and i wandered back past more stalls - lots of biscuits, which we may have to stock up on before the ride, but even with the time change we're quite tired so an early night I think is called for!