May 18, 2009:
Our day started out with me having the usual headache, but I wasn’t about to let this ruin the start of the day so I ate a banana and an apple then popped 2 aspirin. Miraculously I was feeling pretty good by the time we headed out the door. We are a both little embarrassed, but we actually asked for help with our bags (first time we have ever done this) since we were on the third floor, and you know … the altitude sickness ;).
As we headed out we went by the ATM to get enough cash to pay our travel guide. However, and this should be a warning to anyone looking to travel to Tibet, the ATMs in town were not working and this is common! We went to several of them with no luck! Finally, we went inside the Bank of China and they were able to help us. In fact, there were a few employees there who spoke excellent English. They told us that there were problems with communication lines, which is why the ATMs didn’t work. Fortunately, we were able to get cash through my credit card the old fashion way. The ol’ sliding credit card machine! Good thing this worked since, there are no ATMs in our next destination, Gyantse (at least our guides did not know of one in that town). Also, most places in Tibet only take cash (including travel agencies) so be prepared!
Once we got going, we took the road less traveled. In fact, most of the vehicles on that road were tour 4x4s. If you set out this way, make sure you go the route that takes you by Yamdrok lake, otherwise you will be missing out on amazing scenery. We had heard that most will go the route of Shigatse, which is farther, but takes less time due to better roads. I don’t know how true this is anymore, since our road was paved all the way, but it was scary and bumpy at times, especially when crossing the pass near Yamdrok Lake.
Our guide told us that this glacier is actually holding … it isn’t melting … yet!
As we came around the Kamba Pass we witnessed Yamdrok Lake for the first time … One of the most beautiful lakes in the world! The photo above does not give this lake justice so please view the slide show below.
It takes a while to drive around Yamdrok Lake, since it is not a normal shape but made of a bunch of legs. At the end it appeared to join with a river where we eventually reached this new stunning reservoir. You have to climb a small hill to get this view, but it can be difficult (as it was for me) with the high elevation.
We reached our destination for the day, Gyantse around 4:00 PM and we went to explore the town before bedtime.
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