We arrive in Lhasa

Previous page - Yamdrok Lake and Kampala Pass

 

The road into Lhasa

Our arrival into Lhasa was totally surprising. We were on a highway with two lanes in both directions. It was the first time we had seen a decent highway since leaving home. Down the middle of the highway were thousands of small trees/shrubs covering a distance of probably 20 kilometres. The entire lot were all covered in black shade cloth material to protect them from the upcoming winter chill. That quantity of shade cloth must have cost an absolute fortune! We wondered why they didn’t use a more hardy plant. There were plenty of other trees growing around the place that obviously are not accustomed to being covered up each winter.

 

Lhasa is much bigger than we expected

As we got closer into Lhasa we could see it was quite a large city – certainly bigger than we envisaged.

There are wide streets, parks and gardens plus traffic lights. Probably one of the best points is that it is CLEAN. No rubbish laying around here. It was totally different to Nepal.

Before we reached our hotel, Punti and the three of us hovered in the car whilst Tiki raced across the street and disappeared into a building. As mentioned earlier, Tiki’s English is poor so she tends not to talk to us unless we ask questions. We wondered where she had gone. It was no good asking the driver as he spoke no English at all.  Punti was busy keeping his eyes peeled in case a policeman was heading our way. We were hovering in a "No Parking zone". The mystery of her disappearance was soon solved when Tiki ran back across the busy road with our passes to the Potala Palace in her hand.

 

Where is Hotel Flora?

Eventually we reached the street where Hotel Flora is located but it was blocked off to traffic. Police were manning the entrance to the street. So we had to quickly grab our luggage from the car and race across the busy road, dragging the luggage behind us. It was a wonder one of us wasn’t hit by a vehicle. We walked a few metres down the street and we saw the hotel.

 

Hotel Flora entrance The front of Hotel Flora

Hotel Flora in Lhasa

In the foyer of the hotel we came across the Swiss couple Ian had spoken to up at the pass. They were booking in too. They told us their tickets to the Potala had them going in at 6:30 a.m. We were lucky that ours were for a mid morning entry.

Our room was two floors up. Just going up the stairs would prove to make us tired every time we went up them so altitude was still affecting our bodies. Lhasa’s altitude is 3658 metres above sea level.  Initially, we thought the room was fine (but we hadn’t endured a night in the beds at that stage). There were three beds and no camper beds unlike the night before. There was plenty of space in the triple room but very little by way of lights. The shower is located over the bath so hopefully there will be no more wet bathroom floors. In the bathroom there is a sign saying we must deposit used toilet paper in the nearby basket rather than flushing it down the toilet. In the bedroom there was a large window that would attract the afternoon sun which was great. We also have tea making facilities. Tea bags appear to be scarce though.

Our room appeared quite nice at first glance Our rooms at Hotel Flora
Buildings on the opposite side of the street View on the opposite side of the street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Settling in to the hotel

Tiki said she would leave us to our own devices for the rest of the day which we appreciated. Ian and Jeremy went back downstairs to reception in search of Wi Fi, to enquire about a laundry service and to buy more bottles of water. I put the kettle on. It is a great relief to know we will be staying in one place for three days…..back they came with positive responses on all fronts! We rested up for a couple of hours.

 

Where shall we go for dinner?

Before looking for a restaurant we wander along our own street.

We discover we are located in the old Muslim quarter. We are only about 50 metres from a mosque! Shock and horror! We had enough of mosque “noises” waking us up early in Kathmandu. We don’t want any calls to prayer at 5 a.m.

An older chap at reception had suggested we try the Third Eye Restaurant which is within the Pata Hotel complex which he said was about 100 metres down the main road. It was a bit hard to find but we were pleased we persisted. We had a wonderful meal so we may go back there again before we leave Lhasa. Ian had another yak steak, Jeremy had pizza and I had yet another yak burger.

 

Wandering back to Hotel Flora

We ambled slowly back to the hotel absorbing everything we saw along the way. We passed the gates of a school and parents were waiting out side the gates to collect their precious little ones. We saw one lot of kids who were very young indeed coming out of the school at 8:45 p.m.

We saw lots of young soldiers with loaded guns. They walk around mainly in groups of five or, you may see them simply standing to attention in groups of five as well. In the Muslim area we saw a pair of soldiers (strangely not five of them). They were in a predominantly pedestrian area standing at the end of some fresh produce stalls. They stood side by side but each was facing the opposite direction to the other. Behind one of them’s feet were a couple of folded (fire) blankets and in front of the other one’s feet were three fire extinguishers and a bucket of water.  We wonder if fires are frequent occurrences here.

 

Power supply problems

Before we went out to dinner we put the lap top computer on charge. When we left it was 61% charged up but when we came back it was only 59%. In other places in Tibet our cameras have shown up as being fully charged but we thought they really weren’t. There must be a power issue. Perhaps different voltages don’t fully charge our electrical goods. Who knows?

Sweet dreams……..

 

Next page - We visit the Potala Palace

 

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