Ah, our first full day in the border town of Zhangmu, Tibet. Just 3km from the Nepalese border. I wrote a bit about it yesterday, but let me give you some other impressions after 24 hours here:
- The town (see photo) is just one long winding 1.5 lane road that has about 10-15 hairpin turns on it going down an incredibly steep hill (our hotel, of course, is at the bottom so everything we want to do involves a climb). It is a small, but bustling little place.
- It is tropical, and it happens to be the rainy season. This means there is water flowing everywhere, even when it isn’t raining. A small river going down the street, huge flows of water going under people’s houses, drainage gutters flowing like rivers, and waterfalls everywhere you look (even in between buildings.
- There is a crazy amount of trade going on here. On the walk into town yesterday, we saw maybe 500 or so large trucks filled with cargo. Again, small town. Every free spot on or off the road, including outside of town in both directions, has a truck parked on it. It appears they are all parked in some stage of Tibetan/Chinese or Nepali customs inspections or permit gathering. Either way, it overwhelms this little place.
- There are stray dogs (or most seem like strays) almost everywhere, but we have found a true star amongst the bunch. From the window of our hotel we can hear a dog barking. He is now my pick for the 2009 world dog barking championships (if there is such a thing). We have been here 24 hours and he has barked at full volume for at least 20 of those hours and that is not an exaggeration. This is serious barking. Loud, and at least 2-3 times per second. Color me impressed.
- Other than trade, or as a compliment to it, Zhangmu seems to be the place to trade currency as well. At least 30 times so far we have been asked “you want exchange money?” by random people on the street.
So, what about the cough drops. Well, my allergies combined with a dry high-altitude cough (which is fairly normal) may have become a cold, and I spent much of last night coughing (and listening to world-class dog barking). This morning, I needed to do something about it asap. I have vitamins, I have water, etc. but nothing to stop a cough, so Ty and I went on separate trips (before and after breakfast) trying to find a pack of lozenges. Finally, we found an open pharmacy and tried through charades to explain the need. He offered plenty of pills, but eventually we spotted some throat lozenges on the shelf. Always interesting to enter the world of pharmaceuticals in a foreign place, but when in Zhanmu….
Lunch was pizza, which was ok but at least it wasn’t another serving of yak meat (which is good, but that is all we have had for days). We watched Bollywood dance videos one a small screen while we ate. The afternoon, as you may have noticed from the posts below, was spent in a internet cafe.