Days Km: 1436, Total Km: 15717
Tibet. I have to be relatively careful with what I say here as it is indeed a touchy subject, but I’m going to say it once and then move on to the beautiful land before us. Tibet is an egg of mystery and magic that china has taken, cracked open, whisked up, thrown into a pan and fried then accidentally dropped on the floor but served up anyway in the hope that the fancy tablecloth and cutlery will provide distraction enough.
Alright with that off my chest on we ride and what a ride it is. The landscape is truly breathtaking. Every pass we crest, and there were a lot of them, we’re greeted with fluttering prayer flags and a completely different landscape beyond. I think only in Tibet can you be riding through grasslands with herds of yaks one minute and then be surrounded by sand dunes the next. Another hours ride later and you’re in the snow with white all around laughing like a 4-year-old that’s just seen that beautiful powder for the first time.
The people are a fierce folk, for obvious reasons, but crack a smile and the old man’s face lights up with a radiance that could pierce the darkest clouds. There’s a clarity to their eyes that can only come with living in one of the most awe-inspiring mountain ranges of the world. Even if their diet leaves a fair bit to be desired. Yak butter tea is not for the faint hearted, especially once you’ve committed to a cup. That cup will never reach half way before politely being topped up and it becomes a battle of who can drink/top up faster I discovered on one of my solo excursions that Bruce has fondly named me being a hippy.. Eventually the only solution was down and run, in the politest way possible of course.
Anyway I get side tracked. Our first stop in Tibet was Ali, a non event of a place were it was hard to find a Tibetan and all monasteries and temples we were politely told were off-limits to non-Chinese. One important thing that happened was we got all our very official paperwork and stamps for our little foray through the Tibetan plateau. One of us had to go and prove that we did actually exist to the authorities and so with Bruce pulling his customary hide in the shower routine that was me. I had the final laugh however as the paperwork now states Bradley and dependant. Bruce is basically my bitch for the next 2 weeks…
From Ali it was a rainy cold start and so it was with great excitement that we found our first authentic Tibetan tea house and sat around the ancient stove thawing our fingers and sipping tea, the normal kind. Once the clouds had lightened up a bit we were off again and soon arrived a our first notable landmark. Mt Kailash. A hugely influential and sacred mountain in four of the worlds religions and quite the sight to see. unfortunately we did not have the time to do the 3 day pilgrimage walk to circumambulate its base but just sitting there and looking at the cloud where the mountain apparently was (the weather wasn’t on our side) and listening to its history from our lovely Tibetan guide was a great experience.
It was then an incredible few days of riding through the ever shifting scenery which my meagre words could never do justice to and so I’ll let the pictures try although I’m afraid they’ll also fail. The excitement is slowly but steadily building. Everest we’re coming for you.