TIBET LIBRE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Trip Start Sep 14, 2005
Trip End Jan 24, 2006

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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Ya ya I know I am horrible at updating this site. So I am going to attempt to update everyone from where I left off in Nepal.

Well due to the visa issue I had to leave Nepal. So on Nov 12th I ended up on a 5 day jeep tour up to Lhasa, Tibet. It was quite an ordeal to figure out the Tibetan visas and all the stupid permits you need. Quite ridiculous but that's the chinese government as I would come to find out later. OK so the trip left from Kathmandu by bus to the Tibet/Chinese boarder. What followed was a bunch of bureaucratic communist Chinese bullshit. Ya can you tell I am a bit bitter towards the chinese government. First of all they have like four ck points you go through. The first one we sat at for about four hours for really no apparent reason at all. We just sat and watched all the nepalese people trying to get across the boarder. Which was actually quite a sight to watch. They were all dressed up and would line up at the gate, only for this chinese soldier (who could not have been more then 16 or 17 years old) to abuse and push them around. He would spit, elbow and push all he wanted for no reason at all and the Nepalese just took this shit from these kids. As we sat there we could watch them going in and out and come to find out they go through this ridiculous process for nothing more then things like toilet paper. So basically they go across the boarder to buy stuff that they know they can sell the tourist for more money. What a messed up process. I mean because we tourist require our toilet paper they go through this horribly degrading process.

So back to us actually crossing the boarder. Finally made it across five hours later. Not without them first taking our temperatures?? I think maybe because of bird flu. Oh and the questions they ask were just absurd "please check the following that apply: Mental psychosis, Aids, infectious diseases, common flu..." Come on if someone actually had mental psychosis do they really think that person is gonna check that box.
The chinese like to make these as difficult as possible when it comes to Tibet. So the only way in from Nepal is to go though a group tour and on a group visa. You cant actually enter Tibet as an individual traveler. So everyone signs up for tours in jeeps and you have to meet your tibetan guide at the boarder. When you sign up you read things like: "As the facilities in Tibet are very basic, hotels, although they look gorgeous, do not have proper facilities even in Lhasa.", "The road between Nepal and Tibet are not up to standard. Its bumpy, rough and full of bends.", "So a bit sporty shoes are much advised to walk over landsides and erosion." and "Guides in tibet speak very little english do not expect them to explain things to you." Ya this all came out of the flyer they gave us before we left.

The trip was pretty much on a dirt road the entire time. Going up and down over six 16,000 foot passes. On some of the highest plateaus in the world. It was absolutely amazing. The villages we went through you could of taken straight out of the movie seven years in tibet. I really dont think much has changed over the last 40 years in some of these places. But then you hit a bigger town and you see the chinese influence a bit more. We stopped at many monasteries and stupas along the way. It really was an amazing drive. Not recommended if you get car sick though. At one point we got a flat tire and our guide told us we might have to sleep in the car. Oh wow that would of been cold but luckily a truck passed us with the tire iron we needed.
The tibetan people themselves are so amazing. They have the most infectious smile I have ever seen and you cant help but smile back. But they also are crafty little people and are probably the only people that can rip you off and for some reason you still walk away smiling, even when you know you got ripped off. It's a very odd thing but you just cant be mad at someone who is always smiling. Lhasa is a nice city and the Potala Palace is beautiful. Although it would serve its purpose better if the Dali Lama actually lived there instead of acting as a tourist attraction so the chinese can make money. It is really sad how they have changed so much of Tibet, especially Lhasa.

So after a few days in Lhasa we decided to head into China over land to Lao. But the only way overland out of Tibet is to go north, which is not the most direct route to Lao but hey we figured it would be an experience. We did enquire about going east and hit a road block with the numerous military permits you need. Why you need them, well no one could seem to tell us why. And so our long, patience testing, frustrating experience through mainland China started...
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