Recently I’ve been feeling really travelled out. Zero motivation and all that.. over the past 10 months I’ve seen more picturesque lakes, mountains, temples, churches, cathedrals.. visited more hilltribes, villages, unique markets than any man should ever have to and so landing in Cheng-Du, which however you dress it up is just another big city, made me a bit depressed. I couldn’t see the point of being there at all so I revisited my reasons for going.. well it was just to get into tibet. Let’s go to tibet.

Jump to a couple of days later and I’ve sorted out a permit and a flight for 140 quid and now.. I’m here!

The journey was quite funny.. had to get up early 5.50AM to get the bus to the airport.. I nearly missed that since my phone was still on Thailand time an hour behind but miraculously (I think due to my watch going off if I didn’t dream that) I got up. No time for breakfast and on the way out of the city I got to see again some of the awesome chinese road signs I forgot to write about last time such as “WARNING GROUND AHEAD” and “EMERGENCY PAUSE LANE” pointing to the hard shoulder.

By the time I’d got to the airport I’d met a Norweigen bloke called Jurgen also going to Tibet booked on the same flight.. so we check our bags in and the nice check-in lady wants to see “Your invites to Tibet”… oh ok.. erm yeah the permit I spent two days sorting out.. See, I’d presumed it was linked to my passport, but it wasn’t so after a few calls to the travel agency it turns out there is a man with a clipboard somewhere with our names on it. We checked our bags in anyway which could have been a mistake if we hadn’t found this fellow but we did, he ticked us off and that was it. Hi-tech or what? We went through security.

The plane ride from Cheng-Du to Lhasa was somewhere under two hours and passed uneventfully except for some horrible spaghetti bolognese we were offered for breakfast and all the Chinese people on board acting like kids.. it was surreal they were walking around giggleing at each other stood up on their seats, pushing past one-another.. it was like going on a school coach trip to the zoo. Culture clash.

Anyhow on arrival we got on a bus to do the 90KM to Lhasa and calamity-Jurgen pulled down the curtains along one whole side of the bus then tried in vain to sellotape them back up. When he’d finally sat down he’d broken his glasses during the mayhem and had to tape those too. Who carries tape with them in case stuff like this happens?

Lhasa is high up. Real high, 3570M according to my new watch and as such I have a touch of altitude sickness that I’m working off at the moment.. lots of water and rest while I acclimatise aparantly but it feels like a terrible hangover.

Anyhow I’m stoked to be in Tibet and I’ve upped the luxury level somewhat sharing as I am a quality hotel room with the Norweigen until there are dorm rooms free. I’ve already been out with the camera so go to the gallery and see what you think.

These 562 words were written on Thu Jul 20, 2006
travel china