This morning it seems we all woke up on a much better side of the bed than yesterday. We got up extra early 4:30 AM, to climb aboard our sweet Land Cruiser 4500 and take off for Gyangtse. Why so early? I guess their doing road construction and we had to get past the point where they close the road before sunrise or something. Anyway, it was dark and early, lucky for us we have a fantastic driver named Soto, who primary concern is our safety. You may think I'm kidding but I'm not, yesterday when trying to pass a truck, when another vehicle was oncoming in the passing lane he actually slowed down and pulled back behind the truck (which I think is fairly un-common in China- usually they just gun it and go). So you can all breath a sigh of relief that Soto will be driving us to the Nepali boarder.
So, we got up early, loaded in to the land crusier and were off. The first leg was very chilly, so chilly most of us had trouble sleeping (even though it was still within reasonable sleeping hours). As the sun was comng we came up on Yam Dreak Tso Lake, which is one of Tibet's four sacred lakes. It was breathtaking with the snow capped mountains behind (apologies this computer is windows 98, not xp- photos unloadable but coming hopefully).
We stopped for photos and to stretch our legs, we also unpacked blankets out of the back, which helped the sleep depreivation. Our next stop was breakfast at a town neither of us can remember. Courtney was a bit disappointed at the lack of breakfast food items on the menu, but nibbled on eggs & tomato until the french fries arrived. Don ate all the eggs but left a lot of the tomatoes. The sweet milk tea was great however. From there (wherever that was), we crawled back in the LC and were off again. This time we found ourselves climbing up and over passes, right through the Himalayas, twice we found ourselves behind large trucks that we stopped in the middle of the road, both times that inclines were too much for the loaded down trucks, but not our LC- it zipped up and around those passes.
During this leg of the trip Don pulled out the Ipod and Don, Courtney and Belinda rocked out to a great mix (made by don, couresty of our and Brett's spliter cables for headphones) (highlights included: Nick Cave, Halloween Alaska, Spoon, Ryan Adams, Low, Kid Dakota, Lovecars and Tom Waits).
About 1/2 way to Gyangtse (from breakfast) we stopped at a damned area of a river, climbed up a small/medium hill and took some cool photos (coming I promise). Courtney found some really pretty Tundra flowers too. Again, back in the car, next stop Gyangtse.
Our hotel in Gyantse is pretty nice (Toliet and hot shower attached- funny how that's what constitutes nice after a while). After unloading our stuff we headed out for lunch.
Happy to report that Courtney found a Banana Pancake, that was literally a pan-cake, that helped feed the breakfast food craving and Don chowed down on Chicken Chowmein.
After lunch we walked up to the top of the Gyangtse Castle 14600 ft, from 13270 at the bottom. No wonder Courtney was so out of breath! It was a pretty cool fort at built into the mountain top back in 967 AD yes that's 967 AD. wow. Highlights pretty much included the views and an Anti- British Museum (no joke- Tibet's still a little bitter about that colonalization period).
After that we walked through the old part of town and ended up in front of these computers. I'm happy to note that people here are just as friendly as in Lhasa only they have more cows, sheep and horses in the city. Pretty cool.
I'm also happy to note that we're both adjusting to the altitude very well. Aside from a couple of headaches early early on (Kunming & Lijiong) we both feel great, much better than at least Courtney expected.
This is hilarious we're in an internet cafe, and were pretty much surrounded by teenagers playing shoot-em up computer games, but next to me a 15 year old boy is watching a music video and singing along very loudly. Too funny.
That's all for now. Much love from way up high!