It was to be just down the hill and actually it's just flat. I was, by some few days. The legs were turning the pedals and do not put up any resistance. Again, you could see the horizon. After a few months in the mountainous natural setting, where the only option was riding uphill or would be inversely me, man of the plains of Mazovia with joy, but also regret welcomed the change of terrain. Good, not because of how much easier it is now going. I, not because the mountains are beautiful, much more interesting, well i will be there smutno, somewhere near total was untouched wheels of my bike Sichuan Tibet.
Because Tibet is not only the Autonomous Region of Tibet (the so-called. OF – Tibet Autonomous Region) that is from the 50's honor Communist China, with its capital in Llas. Getting to the TAR bike is not enough, it is very difficult to physically, is primarily due to the currently applicable provisions virtually impossible for foreigners. Those provisions are (though still change), that foreigners can not travel to the TAR individually, but in groups organized through one of the travel agencies, necessarily guided and, above all, they must have a residence permit that "their" costs. Not this time.
But you do not need to go that far. Tibetans inhabit the high mountains of northern Yunnan and Sichuan western North. The Junn I failed, but still tempted Sichuan.
I decided then, that if driving in this direction the bus will be so kind to take me with the bike, is going. Bus took me.
„Where are you from? (Where are you from?)"- Asked me dressed in a red robe monk trailing.
„From Poland”(of Polish) - Answered.
„A Holland! yes yes, I know! very good football! (A tak, The Netherlands, I know! Very good football!) – glad to.
On the football team does not know, but with the spectacular successes of the Polish team would rather have heard, Therefore, I was sure, again with this common mistake resulting from close as to the pronunciation in English names of countries (Poland – Holland). I moved it to an error, I am of Polish and not the Netherlands and of the team of my country, unfortunately, does not participate in World Cup. Monk took a message and a continued heavy reliance takeover my relationship with the latest results of football matches.
I met them on the way to the pass. It is almost 50 km long entry of 2600 to "only" 4300 m altitude, that I wanted to personally beat, but more or less in the middle of the tour saw the first car pick-up with an empty crate and then aimed in his direction, two monks did not hesitate for long.
"You're going there, to the top? Could I take the bike to?" – I asked.
I'm not a bike-climbing puritan, admission was steep and and so I knew, the same pass that I will overcome after doing a loop on the way back, So I still have a chance to be in front of him as if to demonstrate what.
"Of course,, no problem, get in. "- said one of them, as it turned Lama Bod.
He only spoke a little English. In the car, laughed a lot and talked of taking over the course of the World Cup, then asked me if I saw the Dalai Lama because he so, yes, saw him in India, and that I really have to go to India because India is great. At the end he gave me his phone number and told necessarily call and visit them in the monastery as I drive through the city.
When I got off at the top was about 18tej, very windy on the horizon hung heavy rain clouds. I drove through here twice already - the day before and a few days earlier. No bike, but bus. Utknęłam w w hostelu Kanding to 3 days, and although there were friendships, I had a nice crowd and the room przygrzewał radiator is not having seen the change in the aura of a more friendly (read - when it stops raining this icy rain???) I chose the safer option and decided to go to away 120 miles of the village Tagong public transport. Pass forms the border between China and Tibet, Then comes the Tibetan highlands (Tibetan Plateau) no and I really wanted to see what is just "there".
Behind the pass I experienced total precipitation jaw. After the horizon stretched the green, devoid of trees hill called. „grasslands”, which can be compared to the scale of the Bieszczady mountain pastures probably 1:1000. Rolling hills cut by streams and whitened ribbons distant mountain peaks (the highest is more than 7500 m n.p,year.), endless meadows full of flowers all sorts, herds of shaggy yaks, Tibetan houses - strong, stone houses or characteristic black-yurt tents. Silence "disturbed" only singing birds. Flapping in the wind prayer flags and white stupa. Smiling Chinese people The greeting is not "Nihao" and Tibetan "Jashi delek!". Longhaired, handsome men (warrior should supposedly have long hair) in the garb of leather and what natkniętym on top of her head hat (and without a pet in the teeth), woman with braids woven in colored ribbons. Gone to China, began to Tibet.
The new road, we were going to lead to dedicated for use only 2 years ago, one of the world's highest airport is located closed to heavy traffic. Story – no sapiących and forever honking trucks! And as the anger on this side of the mountains the sun was shining. How to anger, that, because I did not have a bike together.
I could not, I simply could not have survived and this thought gave me no peace – I think, that can be understood only other bicycle enthusiast. The next day I walked around and still thinking about it. Stay here and go a bit further by bus or go back to the bike and make even a small loop, and above all ride "aerodrome way"? Because of the large Tibetan loop unfortunately, huge unfortunately, I missed the time. Weather was good and what is important, I had no symptoms of altitude sickness (headache, gasping, sometimes fever and general weakness), which was more than half of the tourists I met. I chose the latter, foot caught and returned to the bike.
After the departure of friendly monks had to quickly recover from a relaxed atmosphere - clouds were coming, began to sprinkle and there was no time for rides or long contemplation of the landscape. Drove away a bit from the road and spread his tent a few hundred meters from the runway. During the night it rained cats and dogs, but in the morning the sky was no sign of clouds. It was also my first night spent at a height 4300 merów npm, and I might add that happen to be great.
For those hundreds of kilometers and several days spent on the Tibetan "grasslands" it was worth it roll through a piece of Asia, a leading mountain peaks at an altitude of more than 4300 m n.p.m. Way to Tagong is the most beautiful way, that I was able to ride in this part of the Asian travel. Section 50 km defeated the whole day at 5 minutes, stopping to take a photo or are poleniuchowanie the meadow. Meadow is, after all, in Asia merchandise almost inaccessible.
On the way back I visited yet "my" monk. He took me to the monastery, explaining, that it is basically a school for more than 100 boys, and he is a teacher here. I immediately warned me, I will not be able to sleep here (not even thought), but they invited me to have dinner. The main course was a Tibetan "tuba" – is a kind of soup with vegetables, mushrooms, wide kluchami and something still there. Learners and monks living in the monastery as young boys poked and pushed in the monastery courtyard, and then as soon as the word spread about staying in the monastery blond kosmitce bike over one another peered through the window into the room, where we ate dinner. They stood with their noses to the glass przylepionymi and me I really wanted to laugh, but silly me was because I was sitting with us Lama, or monastic guru.
Bod Lama asked yet about the latest tournament results Mundialowych, but with a palpable sadness in his voice, said,, unfortunately, they do not have TV here, So he does not know, but tomorrow again going into the city and watch the game.
"Who will play?" – I asked.
"I do not know, but a match is sure to be " – said.
Eh, These men.. 🙂
And although the circumstances here are unique wildlife and people smiling I have no doubt, that life in Tibet does not spoil. The hostel in Kanding I was lucky to share a room with Linda, more than 70-year-old American, which for years is related to Tibet and came here to teach English, Tibetan support hostel. She told me a lot about the local customs and turbulent history of the region - m.in. about how a few years ago were strewn around piles of snow, many people have died and many animals and the Chinese government somehow tearing to help, to put it mildly. The same was true after a powerful earthquake, that hit the area a few years ago. NGO were previously thrown away and people are left to themselves. Long to talk.
In more recent and concerning me directly the news – 2 June, 2 days before the anniversary of the massacre in the square Tiennanmen Chinese authorities, although to do so officially not admit, blocked access to Google and related services. I can not use the map, search engine and just luckily I do not have an email account on the popular masses as gmail users, which were in the hand knows where. Chinese Democracy. But it's such a digression.
From a case Jutras, with a sense of the large Tibetan unsatisfied, but if there were bike back tomorrow to meet Chinese and I go to the final straight towards the airport. From the hills and the flat.