The Friendship Highway, Day 2

Trip Start Aug 14, 2007
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Trip End May 23, 2008


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Sunday, March 2, 2008

· Shingtse, Tibet, China
· GMT + 8hrs
· Altitude: 12,845ft (3,892 metres)

Lhasa to Kathmandu. Day 2
· Day 2 hours driving: 1
· Day 2 Altitude drop: 165ft (50m)
· Day 2 Highlights: Views from Gyantse fort, doing nothing in Shingtse & a hotel with heat
· Day 2 Lowlights: Falling off the wagon

One hour
One hour. That's all we spent in the jeep today getting from Gyantse to Shingtse, Tibet's second largest town (I'm disagreeing with our guidebook which classes it as a city). Something tells me the next few days won't be so agreeable to our asses (as in buttocks, not pompous fool or hardy & sure-footed animal smaller and with longer ears than the horse) but for now we're wallowing in the warmth of our heated Shingtse hotel room having just let ourselves down by falling off the wagon. Yep, having gotten to Shingtse a few hours ago we quickly realised that there was nothing to do here; nothing to do that is assuming you don't want to go looking at more monasteries and if, unlike us, you haven't had your fill of Buddha statues, frisking monks and rabid-looking stray dogs. So with nothing to do we did what we do best - we went drinking. Don't think badly of us; as I said in a previous entry we're probably taking this whole altitude sickness prevention thing too seriously anyway. That and the fact that Shingtse seems to be the sort of place that drives people to drink. It started off innocently enough. Having checked into our €12-a-night hotel room we had the shower we didn't have in our Gyantse icebox hotel earlier in the day before we went out to have a look around and see what Shingtse has to offer. Not much as it turned out. We wandered here, we wandered there and before we knew it we were sitting on the side of a road drinking the daemon beer. That proved to be quite the spectacle for the passing locals, who we doubt see many foreigners at all let alone ones who sit on the side of the road sipping beers. We had fun too, and that's all that matters. We're now back in the hotel room, disgusted with ourselves, and we're probably going to have dinner in a few minutes in the hotel restaurant. Actually, we are going to have dinner in a few minutes in the hotel restaurant. The only uncertainly is will we have dinner with or without beers? Considering tomorrow is a big day, EBC day, and we'll be spending a long time in the jeep getting to EBC it might be sensible to emm, be sensible. Yeah, sensible. It's a tough one. Decisions decisions. Btw, EBC... I don't really have to keep reminding you, oh diligent Travelpod reader, that EBC is an abbreviation for Everest Base Camp, do I?

A good 10 hours
I know you all worry about us so I suppose I best tell you that we slept surprisingly well last night in the cold hotel room in Gyantse. We even reckon we banked 10 hours of sleep, most of them quality hours. Not bad, eh? We're thinking that it was probably because of layers, lots of them; we slept in our clothes and had two duvets each (A-bomb also had a sleeping bag). Either that or we're harder travellers than we thought. Umm, on second thought nope, it was definitely because of the layers.

Day 201 Observations (March 1st 2008)

· I take it back
Gyantse isn't that bad a place, at least not from 400ft up. Before we left this morning for Shingtse we paid a visit to the Gyantse fort from where the views of the town and the surrounding valleys were amazing (I'm stopping just short of calling them 'glorious'). Check out the pictures to see what I'm talking about.

·Strange sights seen on the streets of Shingtse
Try these for size; goat carcasses, people sitting on the side of the road attached to intravenous drips (no sign of a hospital), pool tables on street corners and souvenirs made out of human skulls (we were told by the lady manning the stall that it was okay to buy them because the skulls were those of "Nepalese people, not Tibetan"). Oh, and not forgetting the two westerners drinking Snow beers, getting sunburn and watching the world go by.
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Where I stayed
Everest Base Camp

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