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Wednesday, 27 February 2008

The Friendship Highway: Journey from Nepal to Tibet - Page 3

Written by Carolyn Bonello
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The Friendship Highway, a 920km stretch of road, links Kathmandu in Nepal to Lhasa in Tibet. The drive takes five days, stopping at some of the most authentic Tibetan villages and highest mountain passes in the world along the way. It has been described as ‘A journey to the roof of the world’ and ‘Without doubt one of the most spectacular highways in the world’. Reading those descriptions, I knew I had to go there. The trouble was getting across the border to Tibet.

The Friendship Highway: Journey from Nepal to Tibet, tibetans walking

Along the way, the rolling hills and bumpy roads were the perfect recipe for the nausea to set in again, this time with accompanying, unbearable heartburn – a nightmarish feeling that someone was pouring gallons of hydrochloric acid down my throat. All this became too much for me, and my next vomiting spot was at the top of the Gyatsola Pass at 5220m. (Thank God for the wide open space and fresh air that allowed my friends to keep a watchful eye over me without breathing in the pleasant aromas that I exuded!).

Remaining alarmingly unwell all the way to Lhatse (the lower altitude, 4050m, should have made me feel better, but alas, I still looked as green and shrivelled and miserable as ever), I was literally carried to a dodgy-looking hotel room, and ordered not to move for the next few hours, until my face got back to a decent looking colour.

Eventually, after drinking what seemed like gallons of water to rehydrate my shrivelled-prune look-alike face, the girls decided that I was strong enough to continue the journey. I was placed in the front seat of the jeep this time, next to Chimpy the driver. The road was unbelievably bumpy and I actually began to admire our dear Chimpy, as it takes skill and effort to manoeuvre a jeep on these kinds of surfaces, and to keep going, day after day.

Shigatse

This is the second largest town in Tibet, and is divided into an old but authentic, pretty Tibetan quarter, and a newer Chinatown, where large boring buildings line wide roads, and bright neon lights shine everywhere. Our very flashy hotel was unfortunately located in the latter area. The funny notice at the reception area immediately caught my eye. It read:

“Our serve purpose is warm, safe, satisfactorily, clean and speed. All staff of Hotel Post will provide you with best manage and service. Welcome to our hotel and made a happy memories on the beautiful snowland.”

Whatever kind of good service that was supposed to portray, the receptionist was a grumpy, rude man who was totally incompetent in giving us any information we asked for. I looked round the large, shiny, marble-overloaded building and felt incredibly sad as it was so evident just how much the Chinese ruined what was once such a beautiful magical land.

(Page 3 of 4)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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