Our last night in Lhasa

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Our Himalayan holiday comes to an End

Previous page - Our last evening in Lhasa


A lazy start to The last day of our holiday

Jeremy said he had the worst sleep of his whole holiday. His head wouldn’t switch off. We all got up late seeing as all we had to do was pack our luggage. Jeremy is not a breakfast person so he didn’t come down to breakfast with us again. He said he would have a shower whilst we were gone.

This time I chose fried eggs done on one side only and they were very nice. Back in our room, Ian and I decided we should buy more tissues for the long journey home. Whilst out, I bought some gorgeous scarves for myself from street stalls. Two were priced at 20 Yuan ($3 AUD each) and two cost me 10 Yuan ($1.50 AUD each). Excellent value!

Back at the hotel I borrowed the hair drier from reception. Jeremy said he had lots of hot water for his shower so I was looking forward to mine. However all I could get from the taps was luke warm water. Where had all that hot water gone?

Anyway the luke warm shower paled into insignificance once I used the hair drier. It was fabulous and I really did feel a lot more respectable for the journey home with blow-dried hair.


Off to Lhasa airport

Exterior of Lhasa airport Lhasa airport

Tiki and Punti were ready to take us to the airport at midday. It took an hour to get there from the city. Again we passed the thousands of trees that were covered in shade cloth. This time though we saw water trucks creeping along the edge of the road and workers were on them squirting water onto the little trees. Outside the airport doors we said our sad farewells. It seems no-one is allowed into the airport foyer unless they are actually travelling. Tiki shed a few tears. Although she wasn’t very helpful as a guide she was a very sweet and caring girl. With a bit more training she will make an excellent guide. She had told us previously that in the upcoming quiet winter months she was going to take English classes. Excellent idea.


Checking in for our flight

The airport is so close to the mountains. Once inside the airport doors we had a look around the place. It was very cold in the down-stairs part of the airport. It had taken us a while to decide whether or not to wear our heavy coats. When we land in Perth we certainly wouldn’t need them and we felt they would be a pain to keep carting around with us as hand luggage. In the end we decided to take them rather than pack them and we were so glad we made that decision. Once inside the airport we never took them off. There was no air-conditioning working in there or, if there was, then it was not set to a sensible temperature. 

Interior of Lhasa airport Inside the Lhasa airport

We had done a lot of re-packing of our luggage to get the weight of mine down. We had no scales to check the weight of anything so it was all guess work. Fortunately, when it was weighed in, mine was only 0.1 kilogram over the limit. The men's luggage weighed much less, so the check-in lady was happy. We were too! The big suitcase looked most peculiar. It had metres of masking tape holding it together. The poor thing has suffered so much indignity, being bashed and smacked around everywhere we have been. Its working life will come to an end the moment we arrive home.


We thought we had better look for some lunch once our baggage had been checked in. The only place serving food downstairs was Dico’s which is a McDonalds style café serving chicken in lieu of beef hamburgers. We had no idea if there was anywhere to buy food upstairs so we thought we had better settle for Dico’s. We purchased three chicken and pineapple burgers, a large chips and three black teas for 100 Yuan (about $15 AUD). This was a large amount of money for food in Tibetan terms but then airports do charge a lot for food everywhere I guess.


Up we go to the upstairs part of the airport

There was little else to look at downstairs apart from a few little shops selling expensive items so we travelled up the escalator to see what was up there. We went through the security checkpoint and that went well enough. We had to take our shoes off which we’ve not done anywhere else other than in Russia.

Upstairs there is a café/bar but Jeremy said it was quite expensive so we didn’t buy anything to eat to while away the time.


Our plane is running late

En route to Xian Somewhere over China

It was hard to understand the voice over the intercom but we finally figured out our China Eastern Airlines plane was running 45 minutes late. This worried us as we knew we had to change flights in Shanghai and there wasn’t an awful lot of spare time between those flights. Eventually at 4:30 p.m. we were onboard and the plane took off.

We knew we had to touch down in Xian on the way to Shanghai but we thought we stayed on the same plane. It was, after all, the same flight number right through to Shanghai. We were surrounded by fellow tourists and we overheard some Germans talking to the air hostess. It seemed from this conversation that we had to swap aeroplanes in Xian! Ian waited for a while and then checked this out with a different hostess. Yes, we had to swap planes in Xian. Ian asked the hostess if the plane from Xian to Shanghai would wait for us or would we miss it. She assured us it would wait for us. She also said our luggage would be transferred to the other plane for us.


Racing around in Xian airport

When we got off at Xian airport we had to high-tail it to a different level of this large airport and race along what seemed like miles of terminal to get on the same flight number that we had just got off. As we finally got to the gateway the speakers were saying it was the last call for our flight. We found our way to our seats on the plane and collapsed into them. We wondered if we would have this hassle all over again when we got to Shanghai airport.


Racing around in Shanghai airport as well

At Shanghai airport we got off the plane as fast as we could. We knew we had to quickly find our luggage and check back in for our next China Eastern Airlines flight to Singapore.

The luggage was taking forever to come through on the carousels. Suddenly I heard a female Chinese voice asking “Are there three passengers here going on to Singapore?”. Oh my God, I realized she was looking for us. We quickly identified ourselves. She wanted one of us to go ahead with her and do the checking in for all three of us. Ian went with her and Jeremy and I stayed and waited for the luggage to appear. Eventually we got the luggage and headed off to find Ian. We quickly went through all the usual check in procedures and soon we were onboard the flight to Singapore. It was midnight.


Relaxing in Singapore airport

Finally we could relax and try to get some sleep on the plane! Later we transitted Singapore airport at a leisurely pace because we had a couple of hours to kill there. The Qantas flight took off on time and at 2:15 p.m. our plane touched down in Perth, Australia. At 3 p.m., just 45 minutes later, Qantas grounded their flights, worldwide. We were so glad we were back on Australian soil. Hayley and her fiancé Ken were there to meet us and drive us back to our home in Bunbury.

It was great to be back home. No relaxing for Jeremy though – he had a wedding to attend. He raced into the bathroom, shaved off his substantial beard, had a shower, flung on his good clothes and new shoes and then raced off to join the wedding party…….


The end of another holiday



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