Tues, Sept 24, 2013
There wasn’t alot of sleep last night. Most of us started taking Diamox tablets that help alleviate the high altitude. Plus, the guides keep iterating how much liquids we should be taking in, so we heard alot of tents unzipping through the night. Despite the lack of sleep, I felt much better than the day before. We had our first bush camp breakfast (cereal, rolls, fruit, and coffee/tea) and headed off through the Himalayas. Early, we crossed our first high pass of the trip, at about 5145 meters (well above 15,000 feet). Surprisingly, I didn’t feel very sick due to altitude at all. It was really windy up there and 39 degrees F without the wind chill factor.
After leaving the pass, the weather got nicer and nicer and we passed amazing scenery, cute little Tibetan villages, barley fields, and grazing yaks, sheep, goats, and horses.
There was very little vegetation around here due to the extremely high elevations. Around noon we caught our first glimpse of Mt. Everest, shrouded by clouds. Just seeing the mountain made up for the fact that we would not be going to base camp – we were very lucky.
After driving thru the town of Tingri, we stopped for lunch, hoping to see a bit more of Mt. Everest but by this time it was clouded over. The sun was incredibly hot here – a shocking change from the 39 degrees at the pass. With just a little time in the sun, several people were getting burned. There was lots of nice scenery and views of ruined monasteries on the way.
We continued to the town of New Tingri arriving around 3:00 pm. There really wasn’t much to do in this town, so we just walked the one main street and checked out some of the basic shops. I finally found a pair of sunglasses that wasn’t too expensive to replace those that broke over a week ago. I walked to a meadow next to town to get some photos of yaks, but it was clouded over and they didn’t seem to want to look my way.
Back in town, it was only 5:30 but people were already looking for dinner. Most of the restaurants in town were named “Chengdu” or “Sichuan” or some variation on that. We checked out the menus and they all seemed to be the same with the nicer meals costing $20+, an absolute fortune in China. This town is frequented by the Chinese tourists on their way to Everest Base Camp, so the prices were definitely tourist prices. After all the searching, nearly everyone on our tour ended up back at our hotel restaurant where we could get Tibetan food. I ordered Tibetan noodles with Yak meat which was basically a very hearty soup with a little bit of Chinese Cabbage, Yak meat, and some great homemade noodles.
I returned to the hotel to have a nice hot shower – the last hot shower I had was 6 days ago at the hot springs so it was a treat!