August 11, 2007: Shigatse to Tingri
Slept long until almost 8 am. As Tsering did not get our travel permit for the next leg of our travels
the day before, we were waiting for him to obtain it. We had breakfast in the hotel and it was raining.
Finally, around 12:45 pm, we left Shigatse. Damn Chinese permit BS. We drove to Lhatse where we
had lunch in a roadside Chinese restaurant. We had fried rice with pork and veggie soup. It was
pretty good.
We continued on towards Shegar. Once in Shegar, we stood in line for a while to get gas. Why on
earth we did not get gas in Lhatse a few minutes earlier where nobody was in line at the gas stations
was beyond me. But that looks like the typical Chinese philospohy: Don't look ahead and anticipate
problems, but only solve them when they happen. The same way our driver was driving: Instead of
going off the gas pedal a hundred yards before a steep curve, he speeds and breaks hard at the last
moment... Chinese....
After standing in line for about half an hour, it was finally our turn. We got gas and continued on for
a few minutes until we hit a checkpoint. Right after the gas station, we could see the Shegar Dzong
from far away. We couldn't get close because we did not have the right permit. Gosh, a couple of
kilometre detour, but we did not have a permit. At the checkpoint, we had to get out of the car, show
our passports and permits, then walk to the other side of the checkpoint, wait there until our driver
came and then got back into the car. This communistic bullshit slowly but surely started to get on my
nerves!
Shortly after leaving the checkpoint, we saw the turnoff to Everest Base Camp. Unfortunately, this
road to EBC was closed by the Chinese because of road construction, so we had to go to Tingri (Old
Tingri) from where we were supposed to take the older road to EBC.
We got to Tingri around 6 pm and checked into the Lhasa "Hotel". We got a little room with 2 beds,
but that was fine. The people next to us (French, of course), complained bitterly to their guide about
the sparse accomodations. We did not think it was bad at all. Immediately after putting our stuff into
the room, we walked back towards the outskirts of Tingri as we hoped to get a glimpse of Everest.
After waiting for about 10 to 15 minutes, the clouds started to lift and we could see Mt. Everest
(albeit far away) and Cho Oyu. Another 10 to 15 minutes and the clouds returned and the view was
gone, so we went back to beautiful Tingri and our hotel. We went straight to the dining room. We
had dinner, veggie fried rice. It was so good, Marc ordered a second plate. Had a beer, probably the
highest altitude where I ever had a beer! We talked to several Taiwanese who were sitting next to us.
Also a lot of French were there. The topic was the bad road to EBC. Apparantly a bridge was swept
away by the heavy rains and 2-3 Landcruisers got stuck in the river. Also, because of the heavy rains,
some parts of the road were impassable. Tsering was with us and we discussed what we were going to
do, but we deferred the decision until the next morning.
We slept pretty good despite all
those dogs barking everywhere. The
story goes that west of Shigatse, as
the altitude is higher, too high for
most Chinese, there are lots of dogs
in the cities as there are no Chinese
to eat them (unlike in Lhasa for
instance where there are lots of
Chinese and not too many dogs).
Maybe just a story.
"Old" Tingri
Our Hotel in Tingri
Mt. Everest from Tingri
Cho Oyu
Mt. Everest and Cho Oyu in the
distance