The next morning, we were joined by the owner of the restaurant from Shigatse. He needed to go to Lhasa so our driver gave him a lift.
On our way, everybody was in good spirit. My travel companion was feeling so much better, so good that he looked as if he had never suffered from mountain sickness before. We were happy to see that.
We were stuck in a traffic jam again though.
Back in 2005, sky burials were still being practised in Tibet. The intention was noble and I have to admit that it was very generous of the deceased especially in the past when technology was not that advanced. However, with more and more patients who need to undergo organ transplantation now, I hope those who are thinking of having sky burials after death will consider donating their organs before the burial so that more lives can be saved.
We arrived in Lhasa.
The road on our return trip was quite smooth. It was a comfortable ride.
I wanted to see Tibet more so right after we arrived, I went back to the same travel agency and checked if I could go to other places. The agency recommended Lake Namutsuo, the second highest salt lake in the world, but they only offered day tours and she warned me it’d be very cold there now. My concern was actually the day tour – that would mean, I would only spend a few hours taking a few photos and then come back to Lhasa. Hm… that wasn’t ideal but I asked her to check the price anyway.
While she was checking it for me, a girl came in and asked them about renting a 4-wheel drive. Really? You could do that? I approached her, ‘are you planning to go there? Are you spending a night there?’
‘Yes’ to both questions.
‘Great! May I join you?’
‘We actually have enough people.’
I was disappointed.
‘But I can take you to meet the others and ask them if they’re ok for you to join us.’
There were 4 of them and they were planning to meet up in a hostel and plan the trip so I followed her.
‘We have a couple who arrived today and another girl and I.’
‘The couple arrived today? And they are going to that high altitude place tomorrow? That’s an aggressive plan. Where are they now?’ I asked.
‘They are walking around.’
Huh?! Didn’t they need to acclimatize?
When we arrived at the hostel, we waited for a while before the others showed up. Not only that, the vehicle that they wanted to rent was also there so all of them checked the vehicle. I was actually quite impressed by how detailed they were. She then introduced me to all of the others. They, at first, was concerned about space. We now had 5 people in the 4-wheel drive but when they saw me and the backseat of the 4-wheel drive, one of them said, ‘no problem.’
They negotiated the terms and conditions of the contract. Because the 4-wheel drive that I took on the way to Mt. Everest had a flat tyre so I asked the company about the arrangements if the vehicle broke down. All set.
We would go to Lake Namutsuo tomorrow at 9a.m.
For tonight, let’s eat! 🙂
12 October 2005
P.S. In 2005, all travellers could travel like this within Tibet. Now, all foreign visitors need to join organised tours.