Friday, December 25, 2015

Lost in China: Day 9

It wasn't the most comfortable night in Tibet, as the altitude that we rest last night was getting higher and air was thinner. However, the day has come. We are heading to Mount Everest Basecamp! Depart early at 5am from our basic hotel,

Breakfast in the canteen, accompanied by a cat.

Stars. Wasn't sure what is that stretch of trail. Is it satellite? Space Station? or UFO.


Due to the Nepal earthquake that struck during April, minor roads are damaged by it. For the restoration work to carry out smoothly, the government allowed cars to pass through in only 2 sessions per day. So to catch that timing, we have to be early.

The checkpoint is guarded by full armed soldiers, and no photo allowed.

This is the most deserted and isolated road in China, but they are very well maintained. A lot of corners and turns.

Several world tallest mountains in a view. Too bad Everest was covered by cloud.

Almost there!

A clearer view of Mount Everest! 

We visited Rongbuk Monastery, the highest monastery in the world. This monastery is unique, as it has both monks and nuns living in the same place. Unfortunately, due to pressure from China, most monastery has lesser and lesser monks.

The view of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain, from Rongbuk Monastery, the highest monastery in the world. Double most.

Sheep in the monastery.

A few more minutes of driving, we arrived at the gathering point, before base camp. Here, some merchants setup basic shelters for visitors to overnight, food, etc. We were overnight at one of the tent, said is made from Yak skin.

Outside view of the tent.

Inside view of the tent.

Tent keeper cooked for us. This is the egg soup, slightly more expensive that lower altitude. What you expect? It is 5200m above sea level.

When you are cold, fear not. We have yak shit. Tibetan burns dried yak shit in the tent to steam up the inside to keep warm. It does smell weird at first, but it is better than cold. It was consider summer in Tibet, but for us from tropical country, it is consider very cold. Can't imagine visiting this place in winter.

Everest Base Camp is about 1km away from this gathering point, and is accessible by special bus or walk. It is the starting point of Everest hikers. However, most hiker who challenging the tallest mountain in the world, are starting from Nepal, mainly due to easier permit application.

Monument of Everest Base Camp, check-in.

Catherine with Tibet praying flags

Stone stacking is the greatest pass time in this place. No internet, no TV. There are any kind of stone stacking from large stone, flat stone, etc.

Our version of stone stacking by the river. I think we spent 1 hour to get this high. What for? because we have all the time.

Bobby and stones.

You think I forgot about toilet photo? At this altitude and temperature, human feces are difficult to degrade. They do less smelly though.

Everest Mountain uncovered. It just pure magnificent. 

The closest contact with yak! They just non stop eating for hours.

Our mattress and thick blanket.

 The night was the longest night in my lifetime. None of us could sleep well, if we ever sleep at all. After sunset, it was so cold and dark, and by slightly moving in the blanket, we need to warm up the blanket again. Headache, short of breath. Our tour guide prepared a few portable oxygen tank for us, but it don't seems to help much.

Going out for a pee is quite challenging too. A torchlight from your phone, with some courage, going out into absolute darkness. It is too dangerous to go toilet, so a nearby spot is always the better choice. Anyway, not much people use toilet, we prefer to do it "in-the-wild".

Before the trip, I was imagining watching the Milky Ways under the sky at night, enjoying the stars. In real, I just want the hour to pass faster.

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Che-Cheh said...

2nd photo... I think it's a shooting star. :)

Awesome view of Mount Everest!!!
I can imagine the coldness at night because I felt the same way (shivered so much) when I stayed at Gunting Lagadan Hut, the night before I climbed to the peak of Mount Kinabalu. Of course, the coldness you experienced is so much more.

Happy New Year 2016!

VHanded Cheepeng said...

It was an exposure shot, so shouldn't be shooting star. Maybe satellite.

Yea, I am going to challenge Mount Kinabalu again next year! Welcome 2016!

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