Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Day 5: Enroute to our Final Stop - Lhasa

Traveling back through the countryside to our last and final stop Lhasa ...

We finally caught this picture showing the normal fuel storage. Cow/yak pies are stuck to the walls of the home or surrounding fences to dry and to be available for use for cooking and heating.

Travel times are controlled throughout Tibet, not by patrol cars, radar guns or speed cameras. Rather they are controlled by a permitting system. As you leave one area, the guide races out of the car to pick up a pass from the guards. Back in the car, there is much inspection of the pass, discussion with the driver, calculations, glances at the clock and ultimately a plan. The concept that this prevents speeding is through awry by the line-up of cars parked by the roadside a few kilometers from the next checkpoint. Here we wait - perhaps our longest wait of 20 minutes - for the exact time to leave. Be early and the driver receives a ticket for 100 RMB, a substantial hit to the daily wage for these guides and drivers.

With few major roads in Tibet, combined with travel times, you do spend a bit of time in the van. And occasionally visiting the same roadside restaurant. Here we are back in our same booth at the restaurant en route from Samye to Gyantse, complete with flies and a less-than-pleasant bathroom.

Nietang Buddha, 25 miles southwest of Lhasa city, is the biggest stone statue engraved on a cliff in Tibet. Notice Douglas standing just in front of Buddha's hand. Located at the north foot of Nietang Mountain. The Buddha statue is one of Sakyamuni sitting under a bodhi tree to capture evils. The statue is about 26 feet width and 32 feet. Always trying to gain merit, Douglas tries to toss a traditional white silk scarf onto the Buddha engraving.

And, finally our last stop, Lhasa where we are met by the golden yak statues and our first view of the Potala Palace.

Link back to the beginning of the October 2007 Tibet trip at: Planning for Tibet, Arriving in Tibet and Off to Tsetang, Tibet Day 2: Tsetang Tibet Day 2: Journey to Samye, Tibet Day 3: Road to Gyantse - Yamdrok-Tso Lake and Tibet Day 3: Continuing on the Road to Gyantse, Day 4: Gyantse - Pelkor Choede and Kumbum Chorten and Tibet Day 4: Shigatse and Tashilhunpo

Link forward to Tibet Day 6: Lhasa - Jokhang, Barkhor, Potala and Sera

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