This is the part I have been waiting for the most. If you count it as a separate country (and I do), it is my 41st. Mountains,, cooler temperatures, a less developed city, fresh air, and rich culture. As mentioned in previous posts, we ended up taking a flight instead of the train and while this was a disappointment of sorts, the flight was easy, fast and quite beautiful as we entered Tibet. That said, it was a very long day that started around 4am and included Ty having to climb a fence because there was no security guard to let us out of Jason’s apartment complex – minor injury, should be fine). We arrived at the Lhasa airport around 11:30 and then spent 1.5 hours getting to the city of Lhasa, including a major traffic jam on a bridge that was under construction.
Impressions? Way more developed and much larger than I expected. There are construction projects everywhere and in the newer parts of the city there are wide modern streets and buildings of glass and steel. Closer to the airport was a bit closer to what I was expecting – clearly Tibetan buildings, very rural, prayer flags everywhere, and stray cows and yaks. I think we will get a much greater dose of this once we leave Lhasa and start the six-day overland journey to Nepal.
Our hotel is very Tibetan and very quaint, with a nice courtyard restaurant where we ate lunch on arrival. Ty had a chicken curry while I opted for the yak burger with fries. Both were very tasty. The rest of the day was focused on one thing… sleep. When flying into high altitude (we went from about 240ft in Beijing to 12,000ft here in Lhasa) the best recipe for the first day is to do nothing except breathe deeply and relax. Consider it done. I got about 3-4 hours and Ty has had more than five already (and still going at 10pm while I write this).
Looks like we will skip dinner – just had a granola bar – thanks Sonya! :) Tomorrow starts with a 7:30 breakfast and 8am pickup by our new guide, Dickey (sp?). She will be with us for the next 9 days so hope we like her…