22-24 June – China (Tibet) – ~304 miles
So, after the emotional and physical highs/strains of Mount Everest – it was a relatively boring long day just getting to Lhasa. First day in quite some time where there was actual traffic to deal with – and a little too tired to really cope with what that means here (trucks overtaking each other – roaring towards you – flashing their headlights as they expect YOU to get out of the way). And then the city traffic of Lhasa – which was a bit more “fun”, once you bought into it… just weaving through everybody, ignoring red lights, riding like a local on their omnipresent silent electric scooters.
And then – 2 days of tourism. Potala Palace – we all went as a group, as it needs to be pre-booked. What I didn’t realise… once we got inside the ground-level complex, we all needed to go up to the actual Palace itself together, as a group, with a guide, through a checkpoint. And not realising that, I’d very quickly dropped out of the group, to avoid the constant prattling of the the guide. So, after I’d visited everything down on the ground, I tried to go up to the palace, and was firmly refused. And then discovered there are no exits down at the ground level either. After some time, I eventually escaped… and not really too bothered about going up to the actual Palace… I figured the best thing about the Palace was really the view of the sheer scale of the thing from outside anyway…. confirmed later by those who did tow the line, and went up with the group/guide.
Group dinner – as 2 more riders finish their trip here… excessive drinks had, and spent some time on the roof of the hotel, just watching the traffic.
Today – souvenir hunting… the one thing I really wanted was that most obvious of tourist tat which one normally sees in every single shop… a simple cotton t-shirt, with the local tourist attraction (Qomolangma/Mt-Everest) on it. Lhasa… does not sell tourist t-shirts. Hundreds of shops selling all sorts of other tat, generally buddhism-related stuff (prayer flags, prayer knots, robes, etc)… but I saw a total of 6 touristy-type-t-shirts in the entire city. None of them mentioning that glorious mountain.