Saturday, 3 January 2015

Days 193-4: Chengdu to Lhasa - All aboard

Welcome to Lhasa!
There's only so much you can say about a forty-four hour train journey.  The highlight was the medical declaration form where we had to assert that we were not suffering from any of the 'bellowing' (do you mean 'following'?) conditions: epilepsy, asthma (I'll just lie about that one) and being 'a highly dangerous pregnant woman'.  As you can imagine, signing up to the latter involved a lot of soul-searching for Guy and Chris.

Aside from this entertaining start to the journey, the pluses included comfortable beds, reading lights and power points for our laptops.  The breakfast of tasteless porridge floating in a kind of soup, on the other hand, wasn't our thing.  We jumped off the train at a station to buy bread and bananas and corn cobs, then survived the rest of the journey on pot noodles and cake that we'd brought from Chengdu.  A bottle of Great Wall wine helped (drunk in shots for longevity), along with a Glenlivet (we had counted on Chris bringing a bottle of something - that something almost certainly being whisky - from home).

But there was no complaining about the scenery.  On the first day a wide agricultural plain hosted immense viaducts and forests of tower blocks (as many fledgling ones as finished items, but no doubt if you blink a couple of times you will find them complete).  On day two we awoke to a completely different world: high Tibetan plains and golden grasslands, yaks and herders, rolling snow-covered hills.  The train line floated on permafrost and cut through frozen landscapes, climbing over mountain passes above five thousand metres high.

At last we pulled into Lhasa and the thought of monasteries and stupas brought the tune of 'om mani padme hum' to my lips.  Guy nudged me and shook his head.  Under Chinese rule, do such chants sound a bit too much like freedom songs?  We will find out over the next few days.

The scenery (the Tibetan Plateaux) was simply stunning
Dawn, day 2
Barren and beautiful

1 comment:

  1. I am very thankful to you for the post you have shared here. In the above post, you have shared some pictures which look awesome. Thank you for posting it. Keep it up. things to do in Denver

    ReplyDelete