S: Summer of 2010... Expect the Unexpected !
BC: M. Baker-McDermid 2011
FC: 'Expect the Unexpected' Part I Summer 2010
1: Street in Kathmandu Bishel standing outside of ATM
2: Man selling flutes
3: Vegetable patties and fries *Note the leaf design on the veg patties Sweet/sour chicken Szechuen veggies and rice | Coconut pancakes with honey & sausages
4: Nirvana Garden Hotel
5: Rickshaw man on break
6: Shopping,shopping | Yak wool- purses, slippers, necklaces... you name it!
8: Greek Salad... Kathmandu Style I guess it is everywhere! This version included: gouda and goat cheese with green olives.
9: Traditional Food and Entertainment....
11: Drinks before dinner.... Pina Colada for me .... Pouring alia (special home-grown 'hooch', similar to a tequila shot- drunk out of little clay bowls... Green beaded sash means married Note low tables and chairs a mere few centimeters off of the floor
12: First course- puffed rice, hard boiled egg, bok choy, black beans, pickled veggies, pancake Lentil soup and naan bread | Momos- (special dumplings) Main course- bok choy, curried veggies, chicken, curry, rice
13: They danced.....we danced... and all danced..... Even impressed the old Korean guy...who gave us Korean charms!!
14: Open air window in our hotel restaurant kitties playing ..... | Stuffed potato roti... one of our breakfast dishes delicious
15: City Tour in the pouring rain....
16: Kathmandu Metropolitan City Tour | Walking in the rain.....and more rain.....and more rain.....
17: The boys didn't think they needed umbrellas.... | but they soon had to buy one too......pouring rain....for hours!
26: Check the electrical hodge-podge... Think it would pass code?
28: It is all in the name, the taste....not worth it!!
29: A local traditional Nepalese restaurant... no tourists! | Eating with your fingers is customary..... use your thumb to push the food into your mouth....
30: Silk scarves and embellished pillow cases galore..... | My purchases......
31: Pizza....local style... complete with boiled potatoes
32: Up and at 'em early.... to Tibet we go ! | The beginning of bumpy, windy, almost impassable roads...and we are in a 4X4
35: So many waterfalls we lost count....
36: Corn hanging to dry
37: Rocks holding the metal roof on...
38: Spring rolls..... mmmm! | Delicious noodle soup.. | Lemon and Jasmine Tea....Hot! | Check the height of the doorway! | Our first restaurant in Tibet.... just over the border! | Expect the Unexpected We ordered noodle soup and our waiter brought us two forks (we had asked for spoons), we got chopsticks. Then much later the spoons arrived.... No napkins available...not sure what they use??
39: Our Room @ the Zhangmu Hotel | A great view....pretty large room.... | Don't look up....a 'little' water damage... | The old shower trick in the middle of the bathroom- no curtain.... | Expect the Unexpected After crossing the border, where of course we got fast-tracked because we are tourists...., we had our windows open, and a little yellow bird flew into the truck while we were driving....caused a bit of a commotion.
40: Breakfast...... Note the peanuts and the butter is 'yak' butter...... Almost Western style....... | Expect the Unexpected Service unmatched! Our waitress showed up after I had taken three sips of tea, to refill my up. And I was hidden behind a pillar. I had at least 10 cups of tea!
41: The first of many, many prayer flags...... | Gorgeous views, real windy roads.....lots of fallen rocks....
42: Do you see the shrine in the distance?
43: Our first gas station in the middle of nowhere | A Couple of Firsts........ | Our first yak......
44: Our guide and driver need to stop for lunch...... | Check out these vehicles.... ingenious
45: Love the doors.....fabric instead of wood | We can always find shopping.... | Alternative to a stroller.....
46: A pass in the mountains marked by prayer flags.... | Expect the Unexpected Driving along and we see yellow patches in amongst the rocks.. They explain it makes oil and we finally determine it is canola. Go figure!
48: Zhangmu to Tingri Uphill to the highest plateau in the world ...over the La Lungla Pass | Check out the carpet... sort of like wrinkled towels..
49: Water in the well..... Pedal power....pretty clever | Noodles and tea...mmm good!
50: Breakfast is included... Beautiful tables...ornate... | Pancake, hard boiled egg, coffee
51: View from our hotel...Everest is over there ...somewhere! | Feel like an old woman.. three steps and out of breath... running out of oxygen up here!
54: Sherpas' way of life
55: Rocky and barren | Sparse vegetation | Expect the Unexpected Driving along in the middle of nowhere.... all of a sudden some kids appear...running beside the vehicle begging for money
56: Yak-kity, yak-yak
57: Getting close to Base Camp | Expect the Unexpected I was expecting hotels, stores...like Banff. Nope! Not even close! A couple of tents and tables with rocks for sale and brass jewelery.
58: Just finishing the wiring and solar panels ...they were hoping for electricity by nightfall.....not quite!
59: The best accommodation in the area... 2 blankets and one duvet It is this....or tents! | Our room ..check the lock! | Bathroom... a hole just dug...door optional! Running water...not here!
60: This is the restaurant and sleeping room of the owners | How long can lunch last? At least three hours...especially when it is the only place that is warm....
61: Rongbuk Monastery The highest monastery in the world! 4980 mts
62: I made it...barely | At the top of the world ... ..or at least Mount Everest Base Camp
63: We hiked up the one small hill..... A couple steps ....stop to catch your breath The summit is wayyyy in the distance! | Expect the Unexpected No one told us to bring our passport....but yes, there is a passport control at Base Camp. Gillian didn't have hers, but our guide bribed the Passport Control officer...with one cigarette!
64: Another 'pass' .... more shopping!
65: Another 'pass'..... more prayer flags | Roads that are wash-board.... for a good 1.5 hours!
66: Expect the Unexpected We stop for a rest and our guide pulls out a hind end of a lamb and a knife and starts cutting off pieces and eating it like it is candy or I guess jerky! | Gillian walks across the street and learns about the game of 'Sho' | Painted fingernails and all......
67: Waiting for the bus..... she is very friendly talking away......our guide translating
68: Xigatse | After a real fast and windy scary trip we arrived at a 'real' city. Xigatse sits at 39 000 mts. | The lobby...... pretty ornate.....we were hoping the rooms were as nice.... | Practically a five star :) Hot water, phone in the bathroom, TV, and h u g e beds
69: Delicious spring rolls, sweet and sour pork and rice... We sat with a couple from England that were working in China
70: Breakfast included.... We almost missed it! We read the times wrong....oh brother! | Check out the plates....tin/aluminum and just like the original TV dinners... I put it on my shopping list....and I found them for $2.00
71: Tashilhunpo Monastery -Panchen Lama's seat | The Panchen Lama is the second highest-ranking religious leader of the Buddhist religious order. This is one of the few monasteries in Tibet to survive the Cultural Revolution. Shalu is divided to a Tibetan style section founded in the 10th century and the Chinese-influenced inner Serkhang, founded in the 15th century.
72: Butter fat for an offering along with scarves and flowers..... | Steps to the entrance.... | entrance | Locals chatting
73: An offering made out of coins | Colourful braids
74: Gold roof ....
75: Monks debating... Wish this book could talk....the sound was amazing.....
76: Checking out the city.....the market and a restaurant | Sheep jerky..... and tea | Sharing a Yak burger... | The guy selling the traditional game 'Sho' | http://www.shangrilatours.com/Rules%20of%20the%20Sho.htm
77: ....Our hotel Street in front of hotel....... | When in doubt...Spaghetti Bolognese, right G? | Our driver..... | Our guide.... | Breakfast buffet looked promising...until I saw the guy under the table with a bunch of wires... | No electricity- so no toast, everything else (noodles, eggs- cold). Had watermelon and peanuts!
79: and that...
82: In Gyantse, we visited the Kumbum Stupa, a magnificent tiered stupa that is the largest in the world. We also visited the Palcho Monastery which was founded in 1418 and was once a complex of 15 monasteries.
84: Yamdrok Lake It is a gorgeous turquoise with of course shopping nearby. Even a yak to ride....if you dare! | Sherpa tents... thought I would check them out
85: Summer houses..... camping their style! | A crazy day of driving along bumpy, windy roads. We saw the airport sign....got hopeful...but no.. another 1.5 hrs from the city. Plus, we stopped for dried fish for our guide's pregnant sister, two stops for mini watermelons, one stop for petrol, and stopped to see the Stone Buddha.
86: Stone Buddha just outside Lhasa..... | Gorkha Hotel.... very traditional | Cloth door in front of wooden door...
87: Food is interesting... Momos- potato and meat- very good! | Expect the Unexpected Guess what this is? Tibet version of French Onion soup....yuck! I couldn't eat it.... | Club House...a couple layers pretty good...but meat too pink....
88: It was time for a snooze after the big drive.....jarring our bones...and then a meal. We woke up around 7 p.m. and decided to look for an Internet cafe. Amazing, but true our hotel has Internet access for 1.5 hours/15 Yuen. | By the way, a taxi anywhere within 10 km is 10 Yuen which is less than $1.00.
89: Shopping.....we will find it..... | Golden Yak ... | The daily pilgrimage....around and around praying with prayer wheels. | Chalices
90: Yippee! We are finished with the altitude pills...so coffee and alcohol are back on my menu. | Expect the Unexpected We were waiting for our new guide...when voila, the old guide, (he is 22), shows ups! Tansi and his brother will spend the day with us. We started out at the Drepung Monastery. This monastery once held 10 000 monks. We learned a lot, at least in short term memory. Too many Buddhas and Dlamas for me to keep track of. | Tansi and his brother...texting and more texting | Stacked stone .....still in style?
91: Peeling potatoes | Prayer pole | Wood for oven | Going up the steps.... mom and baby begging
93: Sights around our hotel | Part of the morning praying route | Just resting | Making of prayer wheels outside our hotel
94: Door outside the Sera Monastery..... | Bobi and Lassi
95: Potala Palace This is the winter palace of the Dalai Lama. It dominates the skyline of Lhasa sitting atop the crest of Marpo Ri Hill. Built in the 7th century it is considered Lhasa's most holy destination. It has 100 rooms and the palace is 23 000 sq. ft. | Expect the Unexpected We got to the palace and then Tansi figured out that we were wearing walking shorts and too low of a neckline.....so we had to turn around and go change.
96: stairs, stairs, stairs, stairs,
97: We had to buy tickets a day in advance and show our passport. They limit the number of tourists to about 8000 a day for a one hour stay. When we bought our ticket the ambulance had arrived and was taking someone out on a stretcher- probably from altitude sickness. | No sunscreen or water allowed inside. Bags and people need to go through security. We try to walk 10 000 steps a day, this day we did 18 000. | stairs, stairs, stairs
99: Time to leave Tibet......back to Nepal On the way to the airport, we met many land cruisers, a van full of army guys, and police cars with lights on. Apparently, the President was flying to the earthquake area near Lhasa. | The airport has no liquid restrictions. I brought a full bottle through security. The international gate has nothing- except a bathroom which had six eastern toilets and one western. It also had one TV in the waiting room. No vending machines or souvenirs....just chairs. And of course we are delayed........