Tibet is now part of China but us as foreigners had to get a permit and only enter the country with a travel company. Arrived in Lhasa (capital of Tibet) by plane. What an amazing flight we could almost touch the mountains. The plane landed in a valley (which more or less was a flood plain). Lhasa is 3595m above sea level (Carrauntoohill Ireland's highest mt is only 1038m above sea level) Its a very strange feeling being so high up. Constantly out of breath, not able to walk very far.
Our tour guide is Tibetan and really interesting. You know the cartoon the Flintstones and they way Fred Flintstone says Yabab daba doo, well yaba daba doo in Tibetain means very good!! so were saying it all the time its funny!!
On our first day we went to see the sights of Lhasa.The Potala palace was the highlight. It was sad to see as only some monks are left their. There is a huge divide between the Chinese and Tibetans its very sad to see. The chinese really have destroyed their culture.There are chinese police everywhere and all very menacing looking. The Tibetans cant pick their nose without the chinese screaming at them. I think now the ratio of Chinese to Tibetans in Lhasa was 4:1 and now the tibetans are the minority. Our tour guide said on average 3,000 chinese tourists visit Lhasa everyday!! (because of the new railway line that was opened in 2007 that runs from all over China into Lhasa Tibet. Tibet is double the size of France with only a population of 2.8 million. So that gives you an idea of the extent the Chinese have here.
It was funny at the Potala Palace pilgrims come from all over Tibet to see and pray at the site, they bring Yak butter and money to the temples. Yak is the fluffy cows. There is a smell of yak butter everywhere even off the Tibetains!! They also sometimes bring their pet goats along with them.The goats here are gorgeous so friendly like puppies.
We left Lhasa for Everest base camp this morning. The scenery was spectacular and supposed to get better. Tonight we have gotten half way and are staying in a town called Shigatse. One the way to here we got up to a height of 4700m. That was a little tough, felt a bit sick. Everyone in the bus did but once we got to lower levels it was fine again. Thank god Dave and myself are feeling ok and we will make it to the base camp. Off tomorrow to the base camp. Yippee!!