(A mix of travel notes and comments added later)
17-09-2014 - Wednesday
Had a late start today, breakfast at nine! It was fine so we dined outdoors with a spectacular view. (photo from Helen’s camera, by Sujan?)
In spite of looking like death warmed up Bas, who'd gone from post ride elation to the depths of nausea & diarrhoea with ‘the dreaded lurgi’ overnight, had got up early and done some bike maintenance!
Rapid Rob was muddy dusty mess with a nice clean lubricated drivetrain, the bits that matter sorted by our crazy dedicated guide.
Todays ride was short, which turned out to be a good thing. A bunch of us rode together rode about 12km on rough gravel road from the campsite to Tingri village.
Ian & B on on one of several creek crossings.
I reckon some parts of this road where rougher than we rode from Everest yesterday. Mind you I’d also pumped up my tyres to tarmac pressure in anticipation of the road ahead. In hindsight that was a bad move!
Adding a level of excitement, and layer of dust, were the 4WDs, cars, buses and occasional truck heading up and down the valley at breakneck speed. The drivers appear to have little regard for the pummelling their vehicles endure.
While the off road & commercial vehicles might be built for it there were ordinary vans & saloons too. They weren’t old hacks either. One was either a new Mercedes S Class or close look-a-like. It was on a parallel track (the road often split into several tracks) so didn’t get a close enough view as it sped past to be sure.
We had a bit of a pit stop at Tingri while the crew restocked the food supplies. Robbie's little, very, pink bike was a hit with the locals (and our guides) who were test riding it when I arrived.
I ventured into the bus to get some cash, needed more sunblock, but only briefly. Didn’t want to linger amongst the casualties on board trying to sleep off ‘the dreaded lurgi’.
Pinkie in Tingri, photo by Robbie — Tingri, photo by Helen
From Tingri it was just another 10km to the next campsite. I was quite glad as felt really weary. My turn for the illness which has been working it's way thru the group?
Turned out it wasn’t. I’d had a big breakfast (for me) and just think the past few days, a full stomach and pummelling on the rough road all added up. After this moderated my morning meal!
The way it spread, picking off a couple of people a day, suggested a viral gastro condition. Your immune system takes a hammering from the extremes of exertion, altitude and change in diet. I had been warned about it before the trip and recommended to take a good multivitamin and probiotic. Was that helping?
Everyone was being really careful about hygiene—hand washing, sanitiser etc.—but it didn’t seem to change the Survivor Tibet odds.
After lunch a few of us walked over to the Tsamuda Hot Springs across the road (partially why we’d stopped here). While it wouldn't win any resort awards it was nice to get wet without being cold after few nights of bowl and flannel “washy washy” camping (and the Shegar COLDtel).
The pool we had was only about knee deep but you could lie flat. It was a relaxing, if shallow, dip and I felt much better afterwards.
Helen’s photo shows locals sleeping after bathing.
The campsite was near a village and big, but rather muddy, river. Unfortunately, like many villages, there was quite a lot of litter around. The local dogs were ever present but not threatening. They appeared to be a happy bunch, playing on the riverbank.
Dinner was, as usual, great apart from a high wind threatening to blow over the mess tent. We had curried chicken, rice, fresh salad & cooked cabbage. Desert was fruit salad. The cold evening & wind meant everyone was pretty keen to retreat to bed which is where these last notes are being written.
Quote of the day:
Nic: "I wouldn't recommend a special trip to Tibet just to visit to these springs"
While talking about the Tingri test ride popularity Robbie dubbed her mountain bike Pinkie “The town bike”
Camp altitude 4357.500 meters
Post 16. Shenmuda to Menbu Town Camp