Today's goal was 430 Km to Golmud, it was also the last day of Bian Ba and Tenzin with me.
We left earlier than usual at 8:30. The initial part of the ride was bitterly cold It was the same landscape with browns, purples and ochres but as the weather had turned since the past 2 days, they were dry brushed with white. As we proceeded it looked like the left overs of chocolate and vanilla cake after a party… till finally the whole landscape was covered in fresh smooth sheets of white. After we left Lhasa, each day I feel has been more arduous than the earlier. My bones were aching with the cold but I kept telling myself- it was just a matter of a few hours. Each time I looked at the rearview mirror I could see the face of my pillion rider, his eyes looking straight at mine, without speaking I asked him how had he done this 1600 years ago? Here I was complaining at every opportunity about the roads and the weather… He does not answer childish questions.
Because of the cold and the altitudes, progress was slow. About 14.00 hrs all the climbing was done and the conditions improved and in fact only got better as the day advanced.
We reached Golmud a big town in the Qinghai. Here I met my new guide who was to accompany me for the next 3 days till Xinning. Handing –taking over was a game of Chinese whispers the new guide spoke only Chinese what he said was translated into Tibetan for Bian Ba by Tenzing and Bian Ba translated this into English for me and the same in reverse.
After dinner Tenzing and Bian Ba came to my room we had beer and bade a heavy hearted fare-well. We had after all been together for 14 days and had become good friends.