Sunday, April 30, 2006

scent of Shangri-la?

let's go
let's go,
originally uploaded by vfowler.
Standing around a couple of stone lion statues, perhaps a little too relaxed, thinking the buses would stop here.

Eventually the Nescafe kicked in and we realized two things:
  1. Zhongdian is the destination, but you want a bus to Shangri-la.
  2. Buses going to Shangri-la often don't display their destination signboard and only stop in Qiaotou if they feel like it.
The centre seat in the back row was the last available. I sat between 2 pairs of Chinese boys falling asleep all over each other and ignoring the snowy mountain-scape. The mild stench of rotten humanity permeated throughout the bus, save for whenever someone lit up.

Investigating the options for travel to Tibet:
welcome to Tibet Tourism Bureau
  • overland would be awesome if you went with plenty of time, stacks of cash, and a handful of indestructible friendships;
  • Waiting 8 days in this nowhere land, for an agency to organize the mythed permit is not on;
  • The TTB can fly us in for 2570 yuan each, but the earliest is Wednesday because the next 2 national holidays are booked solid.
Back to the Shangri-La Travellers Club (hostel) I calculated that I have enough cash to get there, back to Shanghai, and little else! I would have to sacrifice all other China travels... Merche and Javier are out - instead their journey will head along the 2,140km southern route of the Sichuan-Tibet highway, an adventure itself.

The expected Lhasa train completion is soon, and also the consequential effects on the region; and the fact that I am now closer than ever to a long desired destination; I bought the ticket.

Samosas and momo in a cosy Indian/Nepali/Tibetan/Chinese restaurant, we say our farewells from the edge of old town.

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