Thursday, September 23, 2010

22nd September
Todays ride was the coldest the day was cloudy and we were moving towards higher altitudes again. As there were no points of interest on the way I was just killing kilometers. It was a bit disorienting as I just remember leaving Lhasa at 10:30, (since the batteries of my watch have ran out, a quick glance at to see the time is not possible) and when we reached it was 15:00 hrs I just don’t remember 4.5 hours in between.
We climbed over the La Gyan La pass at a height of 17,127 ft. Over the windy pass we could see our destination, still 40 Km away the Namtso lake. At 15,570 ft. it is the world’s highest lake.  Once we went down the pass we drove on an enormous plateau circled at the horizon by a ring of snow capped mountains. A good part of this flat land was covered by a massive crystal blue water body almost like an ocean. Namtso means Heaven- Lake. That’s where the title of Vikram Seth’s book ‘From Heaven Lake’ about his travels in Tibet comes from … which I tried high and low to get before this trip but failed.
I took a walk by the lake, sat and watched the clear blue waters making waves like the sea on a pebbly beach… and wondered what I was doing here?!… I am more a beach person than a mountain person and detest even the hint of cold weather! Next time I think of an art project it should be about lying on a beach…a real beach sun, sweat and all, and the only thing cold in the picture should be that bottle of beer!
Namtso is only a tourist destination. It was never a settlement so there are no permanent houses- just tin sheds for restaurants and living quarters, even the people who run these businesses live in tin sheds. It is awfully windy and freezing cold, and I have that pounding headache (altitude sickness). The light faded at 20:00 hrs and the electric supply is from then till 23:00. Now I will put a full stop, have dinner and try to sleep.
Incidentally today I have completed exactly 4100Km from Bombay…not a km less nor more!!

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