Road to Shigatse
Trip Start Sep 08, 2010
228Trip End Ongoing
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Police checkpoints. "Speed checks" apparently. We're not monitoring your movements, honest. Just pop your name and number plate in this ledger
Prayer-flagged mountain passes. Five-thousand metre headaches - they're the best kind!
Squat toilets in concrete stalls, rectangular holes in cut out of the floor and shitty fingers wiped around the walls. Be careful of the updraft. That'll be 1Yuan, please.
Turquoise lakes - how such colour? - with cairn-studded shorelines. Migrating waterfowl resting on the improbable tincture. Are there fish in these waters? Yes. Do the fishermen catch many? No fishing. Waters Sacred.
Mountains becoming mountains - snow peaked brilliant whiteness. Wind blowing snow off the sheerest faces into the bluest skies.
Temperatures once again soaring unreasonably. Strip off layers.
The optics of my sunglasses are so bad they give me a headache at the best of times (thank you, TK Max). Here they are unwearable and I am left to fend off the dazzling brightness by myself.
Silver streams and salt pans. Tilled fields and houses clustered into Chinese-authorised villages
This is where you will eat. Oily and over-priced. Because of all your photos and the fact you insisted on actually stopping at the lake we are running behind schedule. You will have to be quick. I don't care if you're about to throw up.
Yaks in vans. Sheep on the back of motorbikes.
Pool tables on the pavement and ludicrously pretentious triumphal Chinese arches and absurdly oversized empty concrete community squares.
A glacial pass.
A walled monastery - an oasis of scholarship and learning in this harsh dessert.
Dried earwax? No: Yak cheese and yak yoghurt.
Majestic white birds - the rare and protected black-necked cranes.