Yak Meat for lunch in Tibet. YUM!
Not something everyone can say they have tasted.
Had this for lunch today. Cost $A3.
We flew into Tibet yesterday but never landed. Got near all the way there on a 3 hour flight from Chengdu China, which was aborted an hour or so before landing, due to weather.
As the plane neared Lhasa, pilot was hearing of super gusty dangerous winds at airport. Lhasa alone has a higher altitude, at 12,000’, or more than 2 miles above sea level, than near all clients have ever experienced, and weather there is pretty unpredictable and violent.
Anyway plane turns around, heads back to Chengdu, and we land 5 or 6 hours after we boarded it. Total chaos of course - no-one has a clue what occurs next, as nothing announced on plane.
On the ground basically no-one spoke a word of English, as Chengdu is not Beijing or Shanghai, and gets no tourists basically, and hours were wasted going from desk after desk of shrugged bored shoulders.
Finally got someone to agree to a fight next day, and scribbled a flight number and time on a piece of paper. No ticket, no voucher, no travel permit, nothing official - just hope and pray stuff!
Get shlepped to an airport Hotel named only in Chinese, and arise 3.30 to catch the super early flight to Tibet. This time all went well and arrived Lhasa today at 9am and went immediately to the massive 7th Century Potala Palace, (about 10 stories) the Winter home of all the Dalai Lamas, and simply enormous, perched on the highest point in town. No lifts, no escalators.
There are literally 1000 steep steps to get in an out, going up another 500 feet something I’d be stuffed doing at sea level, much less 2++ miles above sea level nose bleed level, where oxygen levels are heavily reduced. All the guidebooks say arrive, and do not move for 2 days to acclimatise.
The first time I flew into El Alto Airport, in La Paz, Bolivia, (the world’s highest airport - altitude 4,061 metres=13,325’) I felt sure the air was quite “normal” and that all the tourist warnings were hyped up nonsense.
Hence in my great “wisdom” I ran around taking photos, walking up hills and stairs, and moving heavy luggage, and ignoring all advice to take things SUPER easy for a few days to acclimatise. (Australia’s highest point Mount Kosciuszko, is about HALF that altitude!)
Huge mistake of course - went down that night for 3 days, with a raging fever, high temperature “both ends burning” - with vomiting and diarrhoea etc. Missed all the sightseeing there, and also my outward flight, incurring high costs to use alternate means.
Worse still was un-insured for it - so all my own fault! Quite a few popular tourist destinations are high altitude, and most visitors are fine, IF you slowly get used to it for few days. I’ve visited Cuzco in Peru, and Lake Titicaca Bolivia both a few times, and the latter is somewhat higher than Lhasa Tibet even.
Anyway late evening now on Day #1 and I still appear to be without Altitude Fever, so fingers crossed.
Using a computer in Tibet is tricky. “Lonely Planet" guidebooks are totally banned. Even getting here is a nightmare with paperwork and forms and applications and grillings. Your ornate TTP (Tibet Travel Permit) gets checked EVERY hour - to get onto the plane and 3 times within each airport, to leave airport building, to book your hotel, to enter any Temple here, and all sorts of wacky things. China Police in large buses are EVERYWHERE downtown. Undercover police are here by the 1000s.
To make this post was a battle. Here it is totally illegal to use Facebook, YouTube, megaproxy, Google, Gmail, and view ton of leading newspapers like New York Times, etc. And now I have just found - IMGUR.com and Imageshack are also VERBOTEN, so can’t load pix there. All totally blocked by the Government.
The “Joys” of being “liberated” I guess! More pix later here via photobucket that DOES miraculously work, that hopefully someone can save later on.
When you gotta go, you gotta ... in main street Lhasa.