Yushu is now one of the past city’s on our way as well. It was a place that held us tight a long time, but we finally managed to escape its grid and go on with our tour.
I am going to make a quick summary of the days from then to now for it is raining and freezing, I want to get going as soon as possible to keep my nearly frozen-off toes sticking to my body:0)
We leave Yushu in heavy rain. Since I have waited for Paul for hours and am freezing to the bone we stop at a roadside cafe to warm up a little and eat a hot soup.
After we cycle about 20 km out of Yushu we set up our tent in a little alley-like Forrest next to the most dirty river in a long time. The river is obviously used by Yushu-people to deposit their waste and carry away the rests of the earthquakes debris.
We get up late and start doing some minor repairs on our bikes that we couldn’t do in the hotel. I fix an issue with my handbrake and improve my steer-block-handle which I use to block the steer when the bike is parked.
We leave at noon and cycle up a beautiful valley which is over spun by Tibetan flags in enormous heights, some lines are hundreds of meters long and reach from one side of the valley to the other . Little temples with golden roofs decorate the way. We grab a quick soup to warm our bones and try finding an early place to camp without success. We finally, late in the evening, find a little island in a river where we raise our tent. We take our shoes of an walk through the knee deep ice-cold water that nearly washes away our bikes. After having dinner, rice with paprika, garlic, carrot, cucumber and a kind of soybean, we go to sleep.
We get up with the rising sun, have breakfast and start cutting the street-names – which we have promised to some of our donators – out of white stickers-foil and glue them on the blue plastic-sheet (see picture).
It takes us much longer then expected, luckily the weather is fine so we can also enjoy the work which we have to do outside the tent.
At 17:00 we decide to still start cycling in opposite to our plans of staying on the island one more day. We manage to cycle a 4700 meter pass right before sunset and descend to a lower camping place in the dark. It is freezing already so hard that our toes and hands get numb and ice covers the scarves around our faces.
Without dinner we go to bed, exhausted from a 5 hour sprint up the mountains.
We again get up late, at around 09:00. Getting up earlier is not possible for we need the sun to warm up our bones. Up here we have the coldest nights of the whole trip. My thermometer can’t measure it any more for the cold kills the battery, but as the warmth of the sun gives the power back to the thermometer’s display the lowest temperature is -10*C, but probably it was even colder. I can see winter coming in around here. Mountains that have been green the day before are now covered by a white layer of snow, it is not much but stays during the day. It will probably get more and more every night now. We should really get going and leave the last 4500 meter passes behind us before they are completely covered and impassible.
After having a long breakfast in the sun we get on with cycling. These days it is no fun any more. I have clearly had more fun on this trip already. Cold nights with bad sleep, rainy days and one pass after the other let’s me get demotivated and my mood is underground. Little fights with Paul are a daily event. The closer I get to Shanghai, the more I which to be there already.
Again we climb a 4500 meter pass, again the wind is against us on the other side so we have to push the pedals downhill. It seems as if the thermic is the reason for this unpleasant wind. The daylight warms up the air which then is always blowing up the valleys, always against us. This could be an advantage when going up the mountain, but lucky as we are the wind holds its breath uphill most of the time. At the top of the pass, we set up the first street-name. “petter wants you to feel better”, surrounded by Tibetan flags. (picture) Cheers.
Only the architecture and the people around here let me smile. We pass a few huge very impressive monastery’s with hundreds of friendly monks, and as I stop to take a picture, a father with his family on the motorcycle invites us to his “Yurte”.
We gladly accept the offer and end up in his tent, surrounded by kid-monks, sweetest children and women coming from all around to watch the two strangers. The tent is nearly empty, besides a huge warm oven and a huge shrine, in which the Dalai Lama is presented next to the family’s ancestors. We are offered a seat, which is a pillow on the ground. Then we are stuffed with the finest selection of food this little monastery-village has to offer.
A sort of pepper-rice-chilli-meat mix which, besides that it burns away our guts, is very delicious. After, as a sort of snack for everyone, a huge plastic-bowl full with cooked, but cold, yak-meat is set down on the ground. Everyone gets a knife and cuts of pieces of the delicious heap. I am a little concerned with the hygienic measures that are surely no problems for the people here, but can be catastrophic for Europeans that are not used to it. After all, I have no choice and I hope on the hot chili peppers to kill all bacteria.
The son of the family seems to be a somewhat higher ranked monk in the monastery. As he enters the tent in his golden-orange-red monk-costume everyone greets him with respect. We get up also and are ordered immediatelly to sit down again and regain eating. The monk sits down with us and we talk over the world, Tibet and china, cruelty, war and the nonviolent resistance of the Tibetans against the Chinese regime. I have heard so much about it already but never had someone explain it to me so closely. Although we talk different languages, with hands and feet we can communicate as if we both spoke the same language fluently.
The monk notices that we are very tired and orders the family in a friendly way to make up our sleeping place in the neighboring tent. A mattress, which is obviously the mattress of the children, is offers to us and although trying we can’t decline. We sleep soft and warm while the poor children probably have to lie down somewhere else.
As we get up the women is already busy with cooking again and preparing things for the day. She has had an accident a few months ago, she got kicked by a Yak and can’t use her right foot properly. Still, she is carrying heavy rice bags, cleaning the tent and carrying yak-shit in buckets to fire the oven. Her husband is still sleeping.
Paul sees her hobbling with a broken bamboo stick and as a present gives her the crutch he had found a few weeks ago and had used as a stand for his bike since then. She is very glad about the modern aluminum-pipe adjustable crutch an proudly presents it to the neighbors.
In this family it seems to be normal to treat the women less respectful. A few times we notice the sharp tone on which the husband orders the women to do things. She immediately starts smiling at us then, like she is offering her excuses for having to go and get something for her husband. This is somehow sad to see but it is the culture here. And somehow this couple still seems to be happy, so we accept the way it is.
We get the same food, which we had for dinner, again. My stomach is grumbling at the thought of chili peppers for breakfast, but again has no choice. Since I notice that the family’s father really likes the ring I wear around my thumb, I decide to build him the same one from a spoke of my bike (picture). He is very glad with the present and as allways here, he wants to make us a present as well. Blankets, jackets and hats, but we have to deny, it would be way to heavy to carry this fur-equipment with us.
As we leave we hug everyone of the family, especially the enormously sweet and happy little baby-daughter which has impressed me with her continuous large smile.
The day is one of the worst of our tour.
Boring passes, rainy weather, wind against us and thus both of us with a huge lack of motivation.
As if it isn’t enough, the dogs around here are really aggressive. Two times they tear of my mattress of my bike and bite holes in it. I nearly run one over that is running after Paul. It has probably not seen me and as it stops his chase it jumps in front of my bike and starts yelping as I hit it. Stupid beast.
I can’t hold myself back as two dogs bite my mattress the second time and nearly pull me to stop. I jump of my bike and throw a huge stone after them.
It seems to be the only language they understand. Afterwards I regret it, the stone was way to big an could have killed the dogs. I hated them in this moment but they did not deserve to die for biting my Mattress.
We only make 70 km and find a place to camp at the side of the road. It starts raining again as soon as our tent is build up. It rains the whole night and even when we get up this morning.
Now I sit inside the tent, it is still very cold and everything is a little wet. I hope so much for the sun to warm me a little. Right now I hate this mountains, I don’t like cycling them any more, up and down again and again, rain and wind again and again, sleeping cold and waking tired again and again, I guess it is another kind of mountain sickness.
Powered by Facebook Comments