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Title image - BAI takes you to: Tibet

Seven Days in Tibet Expedition Dispatch

November 6, 2012 – Zhangmu to Kathmandu

Just when we thought the adventure was over, we found ourselves walking across the bridge into Nepal with very young soldiers armed with very big guns watching our every step. In the middle of the bridge is a yellow line and on the other side of this line, the uniforms change color. We are in Nepal.

The first 30 km of the drive are on the worst road we have ever driven on. This includes some pretty bad roads in India. We are all hanging on or braced against something. We are offered lunch but insist that we be taken right back to Kathmandu and the Yak and Yeti hotel.

We’ve made it back to Kathmandu.  Our high altitude team went full circle ‘round Mount Everest.

We’ve made it back to Kathmandu. Our high altitude team went

full circle ‘round Mount Everest.

It is interesting to drive to Kathmandu because we have really only seen it or the Khumbu and there is, of course, much more to Nepal than those two places. Rural Nepal is as poor as Tibet but (I have to say this) the infrastructure in Tibet is much better. The vegetation becomes almost tropical and we realize that we have dropped 10,000 feet.

Thirty kilometers out of the city, the traffic begins and we slow down again but in a way it is okay because when we get to the hotel, the adventure will really be over.

Traveling in Tibet is not easy. It is a poor country and has very few amenities. The food is very bland, no matter where you are. There is almost no English and we probably would have perished without Mr. Pingtso La. Seriously. The Chinese government does not particularly want tourists and so it is hard to get in and you are constantly subjected to security checks while you are there. There is a big police/military presence in Lhasa and a feeling of tension. You just know that the Chinese have no sense of humor. There is no wifi and no internet. Even the best hotels have limitations, like no hot water or heating or, at times, cleanliness.

On the other hand, there is still a distinct Tibetan culture, particularly in the countryside. The monasteries are really the repository of a lot of history and art. The country itself is beautiful from the rolling brown hills to the soaring Himalayas. The roads are very good, so it is possible to really enjoy what you are driving through.

Now we have all gone our separate ways. Fred goes back to Toronto. Gerry and I are on our way to Paris and Jim and Sharon are on their way to Edmonton. In its own way, the trip through Tibet was as adventurous as our trek. We will certainly have vivid memories.