Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Last stop...Lhasa

Meng Xie met us in Chengdu, after a long long flight from New York and then Shanghai. We were VERY happy to see him & have him join our team! We had the day in Chengdu to rest & prepare... and then we were off to the train station.

T minus 90 minutes... Chengdu Train Station. Where we had our first run in with the police. We took a "van cab" to the train station - after trying to catch regular cabs... to no avail. A little van pulled over & we agreed on a fee to go to the train station. Excellent. At the train station, the police swarmed our vehicle as we were unloading. Turns out, the van was a "black cab" and the police wanted to see to it that he received a fine. We felt TERRIBLE. After all, he had just given us a ride to the train station for a reasonable price, after we couldn't hail regular cabs in the rush hour traffic... 45 minutes, several forms and red ink fingerprints later... we were free to go into the train station but the poor driver was whisked off (along with his van) to the police station to be fined. We paid the driver way more than the fee we agreed upon, but don't know how much the fine will actually be. I hope we covered it.

This was not a good way to start the train ride to Tibet. A jumping shot brought up the morale a little...

Meng & Jack, outside the Chengdu Railway Station:

Pre-train may not have been so great - but the train ride itself was incredible. We had a tiny, cozy sleeper room for the four of us & immediately turned it into Tripod Position A.

The next day the scenery was mostly rural China, with a city or two thrown in.

The second morning we woke up almost 5000 meters higher than the day before. You know you're in Tibet when...

Fog & Yaks:

Pilgrims prostrating on their way to Lhasa:

Many times we saw rows upon rows of stones set on the ground in a grid pattern that lasted sometimes for miles at a time. I don't know if there is any significance to it, we asked the train attendants and I did a quick internet search but didn't find anything. If anyone knows what this is or what these are for... please leave a comment!

We also passed many small communities of houses, right alongside the train tracks:

Over a few more bridges...

last stop... LHASA.

1 comment:

irgins said...

where the high res pics at? haha