on the evening of the 30th of april i was supposed to pick up my passport from the agency and leave the next morning with a bus towards the chinese border. when i reached the agency i was told that we are leaving in half an hour.
in streets people were already gathering for a general strike expected for the 1st of may. i rushed back to the hotel, packed my stuff, payed the bill and went over to the guest house next door where some people had gathered for a farewell dinner and said goodbye and was following a guy from the agency on his motorbike to the bus.
my bicycle was strapped above the other luggage on top of the mini bus. we reached the border town of kodan around midnight and got our first trouble with the organised tour thing because we had to pay for the night ourselves even though it was the decision of the agency to start the tour a day earlier.
in the morning we received news that our bus would not move so i packed and cycled the last meters to the border and the friendship bridge. we had to wait for some time and people used the break to rip out any tibetean references out of their guidebooks. the proceedings were quite relaxed and so some items entered china which should cause trouble later on.
when we reached the bus it was clear that it wouldn’t be easy to get the cycle on board. new busses with hardly enough space to take in all of our bags and no roof rack were waiting for us. after some consideration we placed it in the gangway which gave me the duty of getting it out of the way everytime we stopped. after some objections from other people from the group, the bicycle was soon accepted as a pet on the 5 days to lhasa.
the bus ride got rough just after the border as the street was still under coinstruction. at one time we were asked to leave the bus and walk until the street got better.
even though the bus ride is no match for a bike tour we had a great view on wonderful landscapes,
traditional farm life and
enough snow to make up for me missing this winter.
the kharola glacier at 5560 meters.