Lhasa to Kathmandu

2007/08 Asia Trip Itinerary | Home Page 3 of 3 | Page Up
Over The Gyatso Pass to Shegar
Hurrah we are 5000 km from our starting point in Shanghai.  Not sure why they are celebrating Shanghai but it is appropriate for us

 
 Prayer flags are printed pieces of coloured cotton strung together.  They are attached to temples and chortens, along mountain passes and streams.  They come in sets of five one of each colour and are always hung in the same order.  Blue-sky, White-air. red-fire, green-water and yellow-earth.  This roadside flag seller does a roaring trade

Three Australian cyclists, they had come a long way but look what lay ahead.  
One of these guys had been quite sick.  He decided to buy his altitude sickness pills in Lhasa only to find they weren't available

 

A
beautiful visa which may be our first glimpse of Everest but so far away it was dwarfed by lesser peaks
 

 
Finally we arrived in Shegar and set out to find somewhere to eat.  We decided on a lovely clean restaurant with exceedingly friendly Chinese proprietors only to discover they had no English menu.  An uproariously drunken party of Chinese Frontier Guards was going on in the back room.  Two guards with 'little English' and an electronic Thesaurus were produced and set about helping us out.  Despite our best mime and help from our new friends we ended up not with sweet and sour chicken, but a steaming bowl of cabbage and chicken complete with skin, bones and feet.  It tasted ok with rice and we did our best to do justice to the scrawny chicken

The commanding officer came from the back room to insist we join them in a toasting game.   As anyone who has read Peter Hessler's 'River Town' knows, this is never a good idea.  We had so much fun the cares of a long day on the road evaporated and our fellow toasters were too far gone to realize we were not matching them drink for drink

Blissfully unaware our worst day was  yet to come we bade farewell to the revellers and hoped there would be no incidents on the border that night as the frontier army were in no shape to respond

The Road To Neilamu
The day started beautifully with a drive through the countryside with many 'stop the car' photographic moment

 

 

 
A flat tyre gave us a chance to enjoy the scenery, check out the flora and fauna and generally watch the world go by, well one man and his wife on a horse and cart and a party of cyclist of doubtful sanity

Our next stop was Neilamu and an enforced three hour break. We asked  Ngodup what there was to do while waiting for the road to Zhangmu to open  He said 'nothing' and he didn't lie. 
The road was closed daily due to construction.  At 6.30pm cars heading to Nepal could cross the construction zone
At 11.00pm cars from Kathmandu would cross, followed throughout the night by trucks, first in one direction then the other
Neilamu is a dreadful place.   We asked  Ngodup what there was to do.  He said 'nothing' and he didn't lie


Oh dear, that's our road down there
 

Crews waved as we passed their camps beside the road, how can they sleep with trucks hurtling by all night?
 

They don't seem to rebuild roads a section at a time but prefer to do the whole lot at once
 

A photo op for us and a smoke break for the guides and drivers
 
 

T
he last hurdle and the best yet, construction with a sheep and goat crossing for added drama

In the  dark and at the end of a very difficult and tiring day we finally arrived in Zhangmu to find our promised hotel did not have a reservation for us        

Ngodup took us to the last place in town with a room available, needless to say it was not the Ritz

As we headed for the Nepal border crossing the trucks from Kathmandu were already lined up bumper to bumper for their journey to Lhasa that night, having just made the journey during the last of the daylight.  I can only imagine the horrors of doing it in darkness

 

There was a long line up at customs and immigration but it moved quite efficiently and we were on our way to Kathmandu

It was wonderful to hear the friendly Nepali greeting of Namaste as we went through the formalities at the Kodari Border Friendship Bridge 

Our Nepali guide was tall good looking and spoke excellent English.   He told us he is a member of the (now deposed) Royal Family and we believed him

The sun was shining on a lush landscape and we had a gratis visa for our overnight stay.  Next day we would be in Bhutan


2007/08 Asia Trip Itinerary | Home Page 3 of 3 | Page Up