Gyatse to Shigatse (Xigaze) – 10th May 2014 – Tour day 11

We ate breakfast at the hotel this morning…lest said the better. At breakfast we learned about the decreasing amounts of oxygen in the air as we get higher. At sea level there is 20.9%; where we are today, at 3859m, there is 12.7% and this will drop to around 10.3% at Everest base camp – all this leads to done breathlessness when doing the simplest tasks.

After breakfast we checked out and walked around 30 minutes through the old town to the Pelkor Chode monastery. This was built in some 1418 and the assembly hall survived the cultural revolution because the monks used it as a store for grain.  Thus means that all of the statues in the 8 chapels and the murals on the wall are all original.  Many of the chapels leading off the assembly hall are very smoky from the two butter candles that are constantly burning and also the incense.  This makes for even less oxygen in the air and it is usually a relief to get outside. 

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We also visited the 5 storey kumbum stupa although we didn’t visit all of the 77 chapels that it contains!  However it did have a good views of the complex. Unfortunately we could not take cameras inside so no pictures from the top. 

We met back at the bus for the two hour drive to Shigatse. 

The drive was only 90km but took 2 hours due to the speed checks meaning you can only travel so fast between two points. Needles to say the bus has to stop for ‘toilet’ and ‘photo’ breaks along the way to kill time! 

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We arrived at Shigatse at about 1.30 and checked in. The hotel is probably the nicest that Weber stayed in so far; cleab , well decorated and in a good location. However it never ceases to amaze that even in the nicest places, the attention to detail can be lacking e.g. lights wired directly into a socket and carpet tiles placed on top of the carpet at the top of the stairs- just waiting to trip some poor soul up.

We had some lunch next door to the hotel then after a short break went for an orientation walk.  Shigatse is the second largest city on Tibet with 200,000 people living in and around. The centre is somewhat disappointing with the usual range of shops selling all manner of tat. As I write this, we’ve come back to the hotel and we’re just having a beer before meeting the group for ta on an hour or so.

We both fancied something western for ta so these up with a pizza and chips…a bit sad but definitely called for!  Had a couple of drinks back in the room with one if the group and then to bed!

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