Monday, September 7, 2009

Rest and Acclimatising at Nyalam

I never knew that latest Hindi film songs and re-mixes had a lullaby effect on tired limbs and I soon trailed off into dream world full of colourful dragons and chinese kites......

Woke up at about 6.30 am and found it was still dark. Sunrise was nearer to 8am and sunset well past 8 pm. Took a while to understand that though we were within India co-ordinates, our watches were set to Beijing time. It seems China also has a single time standard for the whole country, even though the size warrants more.

We were to go on an acclimatising trek today. We were told that the outing would last about three hours and the trek would be a fairly easy one.

Packed our back packs and we were out by 9.30 am. A short walk and we were at the base of the hill we supposed to climb up. This walk, about a kilometre and half was the first strenuous effort we put in at high altitude. It seemed a great effort and some of us seemed a little out of breath. As we started climbing the effects became more pronounced. Two of them gave up and I was the last.

I was the laggard and falling further back. Sherpa Autar was with me gave me a few tips. I decided that I would not give up and I would successfully complete the trek. I slowly kept increasing the number of steps I took a break and this worked. Huffing and puffing, I finally reached the top.

The backpack, camera and jacket seemed a big burden and just slowed down my progress. However, as I reached the top, there was a cold wind blowing and the down jacket was just what the doctor ordered.

It was a magnificent view - stark and desolate. After spending about half an hour there, we descended. It was not so much an effort this time around and I took my time just soaking in the serenity and beauty of the place.

The rest of the day was free but there was precious little one could do apart from walking up and down the main and only street in town. Many shops selling trekking gear, foodstuffs, groceries, bottled water, fresh fruits and vegetables and ofcourse every shop was stacked with cartons of "Lhasa Beer" and cigarettes. Every local and the Chinese soldier seems addicted to Lhasa Beer and cigarettes out there.

Bathing facilities are absent or very primitive. Taking this opportunity, a few shops have modern bathrooms with shower facilities which are rented out at 15 - 20CY on a single use basis. You are advised to remember the cardinal rule: Bargaining is permitted and if you are lucky, the price may lowered a bit.

Soon it was time for dinner and "tuck-in" as the next morning we would commence our journey of over 750 kms across the Great Tibetan Plateau or quite literally "Roof of the World"

1 comment:

Priyank said...

Oh ofcourse the Chinese have one time zone. All other places and people except the Han Chinese areas are second class. Where are the pictures?