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October 1, 2006

Road to Nepal

Click on image to play video (high speed connection advised).

LOCATION: Shigatse, Tibet
Longitude: N: 29.65°
Latitude: E: 91.13°
Miles from Singapore: 4440

How fickle the human mind is! Just over a week ago I was gagging to get to Lhasa for my first wash in nearly a month, to dry out from the rain and to reacquaint myself with the meaning of hot food. Then a few days ago I was gagging equally hard to get away from Lhasa to escape mass tourism, exorbitant prices and, well...because I missed being outdoors.

The grass is always greener, but there has to be a balance no? For me I think the optimum length of time in a static 'basecamp' environment is between 3-4 days. And the corresponding time 'out there' around a week before the great outdoors starts to get tiresome.

The 270km ride from Lhasa to Shigatse here (traditional home of the Panchen Lama) was pleasant if a little uneventful. The highlight was definitely stopping off at the 11th century Nethang monastery just 17km outside of Lhasa. Currently home to 33 monks, the tiny courtyard, chapel and surrounding buildings are impeccably tidy and well cared for. When I arrived they were just finishing afternoon prayers which, when I stuck my head around the door, included the use of various wonderful instruments such as conch shells that some of the younger monks were blowing into with all their might (with mixed results.) What a cacophony! Unfortunately by the time I ran back to the bike and grabbed my camera everything was over and the monks were piling out of the chapel in the direction of the kitchen for their main feed of the day.


This leg of the trip will take me 1,000km from Lhasa over the main backbone of the Himalaya (and past Mt. Everest) to Kathmandu in Nepal. It's a very different stretch of road compared to the one leading up to Lhasa, not least because I'm all legal beagle now I have an official 'Alien's Travel Permit' picked up from the PSB (police) just this afternoon. So I won't be having to dodge any police checkpoints at night or avoid the bigger towns. If I get fed up with camping I can grab a room in a guesthouse for the night (without fear of a knock on the door in the middle of the night by the PSB). And if I want to stop off in a town and eat at a restaurant, or all of the restaurants, and then go dance the fandango outside the police station wearing nothing but a kilt, I can without (too much chance of) getting arrested.


Plus I have my fancy new stove picked up in Lhasa so I can cook whatever I want (as long as it says noodles on the packet) whenever I want, whether it's raining or not. I'm sure it's a Chinese knock-off (fake) based on an MSR design, but if it lasts as far as Kathmandu that's good enough for me.


Posted on October 1, 2006 2:11 PM


Beautiful images, beautiful children - glad to see you in such high spirits. You deserve a beautiful stretch of road to enjoy.

Posted by: Darcia [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 4, 2006 5:46 AM

hooray! that stove looks awesome! happy trails, jason.

Posted by: gl. [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 2, 2006 6:15 AM

If you do the fandango in a kilt in front of the PSB station, make sure you vlog it!

Posted by: tagami [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 1, 2006 9:37 PM