Hard days on the Road

Trip Start May 07, 2007
Trip End Aug 06, 2007

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

As I cycled East, the day got hotter, between 8am and 12pm it was tolerable, after that the temperature rose above 35 degress, only cooling down after around 6pm. I managed to cycle around 6-8 hours a day, in temperature up to 35 degrees, at times stripped to the waste and drinking 4 litres of water to rehydrate.

On my left hand side a lovely river kept me company, with views relieving the boredom of turning my chainwheel. Small villages were perched on the riverside, green mountains loomed in the distance, and a slowly changing landscape kept me company. The hills became far gr
eener then the dusty brown landascape from where I had come from in the West. namely around Shigaste, a 7 day ride away should I ever need to backtrack! (never in my mind)

As I headed for The Samye monestary, with the aim of completing a circular navigation back to Lhasa, in total approximately a 1000km bicycle ride. I would travel via a place notorious for police and military patrolling its streets. Bayi, further to my East by 400km,  By heading even further east of Bayi, I hoped to investigate a very famous 7700m mountain called Namche Barwa. My hope to try and climb it one day, perhaps even next year, if nayone reading ths is interested? It is a very technical climb requiring 5 permits, and is actually well off limits for any solo visitors. A fact I tended to ignore!

Getting beyond Samye Monestary would always involve some risk and heading further East, alone without a permit was illegal. Highly so! Nevertheless I would try it anyway, up for the challenge of dodging army and police checkpoints, the naughty boy that I am!
After another day on, an over night camp, and hardly seeing anyone, I arrived at the centre edge of the spectacular Yarlung Tangpo(Lake). I needed to cross it to get to the Samye monestary.  The ferry master was drunk, and tried it on, as I was alone, and had been for the last 3 days. He wanted to charge me 300 rmb, 21 pounds. Illebriated, I laughed at his request especially as eventually his son told me it would cost 30 rmb, 2 pounds!  I learned a minimum of 4 people were needed for the boat, cum ferry to take us across the lake.

After an hours wait a young couple turned up, a chinese chappie and his Hong Kong girlfreind.  Five minutes after this a monk followed and then there were 4!

We were set for the fanastic voyage, which lasted  just over an hour. In splendid sunlight the views were spectacular as the sunlight reflectd off the deep dark blue water, and the calm was punctured only by the diesel engine that powered our vessel along, completing an unforgettable experience. A half hour bus ride to the Samye Monestary followed where I planned to stay there only one night, but eventually stayed for 4 night's as it was such a special and spiritual place.
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