Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Back In Town!

Wow so many things happened since the last update, I don't even know where to begin! Heehee. Well, we're finally back and made it successfully to Mt Qomolangma base camp (5200m). Whee!

The train ride from Beijing to Lhasa was ok. Too many China-people on the train though. I found them extremely loud, with little to no sense of hygiene. The toilets were disgusting!

Food in Beijing and on the train was also unimpressive. Next time anyone intends to take the 45 hour train ride, I'd suggest preparing lots of food for the trip. We had to survive on cherry tomatoes and instant noodles bought from street vendors. Oh, and bring lots of water too (although these can be purchased).

What they say about the view out the window being like watching NatGeo? Only true for the later half of the train ride (from Xining onwards). But the view was well worth it.

We did the usual spot of sightseeing in Lhasa- temples, palaces, and monasteries. Didn't like the oppressive feel to the city where there were Chinese soldiers on every street corner and patroling the streets. Felt much better once we got out and into the countryside.

The drive out was stunning. Clear blue skies, snow capped mountains, farmers working in the fields, herds of yak and sheep grazing. We camped out for 4 nights, and that in itself was an amazing experience. Pitching tents in biting winds, sleeping in subzero weather, waking up
to hot milk. Awesome.

We didn't do the full trek as intended. Trekked for 5 hours on the first day in super strong and super cold winds, and caved in to the warmth of the land rovers after. Took the cars on the second day too. Heehee. Trekked for 2 hours on the third day and decided to conserve energy for the last stretch on day 4. Heehee.

4km to base camp and 4km back. We took it slow and made it there with ease. It was rather anti-climatic when we got there though. Instead of a sprawling campsite, we were greeted with a military camp and tonnes of Chinese tourists who took the bus. Pfft.

All in all, it was a good trip. :)

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