Our last morning in Lhasa was quiet preparing and packing before leaving for Kathmandu in Nepal and spending our last few yuan which cannot be exchanged outside of China. We also ate the kind gift of wedding cake given to us by good friends Lindsay and Bob who came and had lunch with us after their wedding. We said we would eat their cake on the roof of the world and so we did.
We were driven 60km to the airport by one of our tour guides. We went through extreme airport security with a heavy military presence. The guide had to present our Tibet permit as proof that were legitimate tourists and that we were actually leaving China as we said we would.
As we drove from old town Lassa and its very Tibeten style we drove into new Lassa which had no Tibetan influence. It was clearly modern Chinese style. In fact we could see the massive Chinese investment in Lhasa in terms of buildings, roads, tunnels and railways as well as an international aiport. Old Lhasa is disappearing.
The flight over the Himalayas was spectacular and the cloud formations beautiful due to the fluctuations in air pressure (yes of course we know what we are talking about, one of us has a phd and the other a master’s degree).
We always seem to arrive at rush hour and the short taxi ride fron Kathmandu International Airport to the Holy Lodge Hotel in Thamel could have been walked quicker. The hotel staff are friendly and disappointed that we only want a 15,000 rupee room and not their deluxe 30,000 rupee room (£11 instead of £22 or about $18 AUD instead of $36). We have booked one night because if it is noisy we can move to a quieter part of town.
It was noisy and we did move to the Pacific Guest House which Noel stayed at in 2014 when he volunteered for Education and Health (EHN) Nepal. The picture is of the bright green praying mantis that was inside the mesh screen of our bathroom window. She is now on the outside.
More news of our plans soon.