Monday, August 07, 2006

The highest lake in the world, and more!

No, i'm not (yet) in jail for barking vainly at the chinese!

Since i had a few days to wait for my VISA to Nepal, i thought i'd better use my time checking some countryside..

Nam-tso lake seems to be the place to see for a couple of days excursion out of town, so saturday morning i wake up at 5 to look for a bus -which i'm not sure even exists- to Damxung, the nearest town. (the traditional option is to rent a shared land cruiser, but i'm just too cheap!)
The taxi tours all the bus stations in Lhasa (there's at least 4 that he took me to!) to finally find one where a bus will leave an hour later.. so far so good, i didn't miss it!
The 200km bus ride to Damxung costs me 30yuans but there's no public transport to the lake, so it'll cost me a 100yuans in a shared cab to cover the last 40km!
But i'm there! And the view is breathtaking -the guide didn't lie.. this one definitely comes second after the Baikal in the world lake competition!
Now the altitude is pretty breathtaking too! Lying at 4700 meters, Nam-tso lake is advertised as being the highest in the world, and at that altitude, walking uphill a couple of hundred meters to check out the sunset is quite an exercise!

some views of the lake.. to give you a remote idea!

With Chen, my tent mate..

After such an incredible sunset, of course, i had to check out the sunrise too! So after a terrible sleepless night, my chinese tentmate and i wake up at 6 and rush -as fast as we possibly can without fainting- up and to the end of the hill.. We get there just on time for the rise, totally breathless, but it was worth it! Is this beautiful or what?!

We get back down around 9 and i'm more than ready to crash back to bed.. when my tentmate goes "hey, we got a 20 yuan ride back to Damxung and there's a horse festival there! hurry, we leave right now!"


A couple of hours later we're in the nomad camp of Damxung.. the biggest concentration of nomads i've seen so far.. fantastic tents, beautiful people, incredible traditional clothing.. just so many colors i think my film is going to burn!

The horse festival is probably exactly like all the ones i missed all over Sichuan! But this time i get to see it! and it even seems like i'm the only foreigner there! (i've stopped counting the chinese tourists).. Several disciplines include grabbing scarfs laying on the ground, shooting a bow and arrow and shooting some kind of crazy old style rifle, all at full galop... very impressive!

Later in the afternoon, there's traditional dance festival.. great costumes! as you can -or not- see on the picture below!

With Ci Ren Djoma, my sweet tibetan guide in Damxung!

I'm back in Lhasa for a couple of days.. i'll pick up my VISA tomorrow and then try to figure out how to make it to the border.. again the most popular option is to form a group and rent a jeep, like i did in Mongolia.. but this time i'd rather try to stay autonomous and go with public transport... i just hope it's possible and that the permits and other "closed to foreigners" bullshit will not get in my way again..


Anonymous said...

referring to the first image, is it some kind of a tradition to leave those flags/fabrics on the shore when you visit or is there some other explanation for it?

joune said...

yes, it is a tradition; they put these flags on every holy place -which pretty means every other hill or mountain top, lake, river, tree, temple.... you can also buy your own flags to add to the edifice..