Archiv des Autors: Alex

Journey to Tibet and Nepal Febr.-March 2011

Our journey began with 2 ½ days in Lhasa for acclimatisation. These days were really necessary as Lhasa lies on 3595m. After arriving by airplane one can feel dizzy only from climbing a few stairs. Many people even have to go back home right away because of altitude sickness.
Lhasa is wildy famous for its Potala Palace. Pilgrims from all over Tibet come here for walking around the palace and praying.

There are plenty of monasteries in Lhasa. Right in the center of Lhasa is the Jokhang Temple where many pilgrims spend weeks or even months praying in front of the palace.

Others walk around the monastery in a clockwise manner several times a day.

In front of the Jokhang temple is the Jokhang square. It became famous for political reasons.

This is a view on Lhasa from the Potala palace. The city is booming under chinese influence.

Many of the tibetan people live of farming. In wintertime there is not much to do in the fields and therefore many people use this time for coming to Lhasa to pray.

Once more the Jokhang square, viewed from the roof of the Jokhang temple. In the back you can see the Potala palace.

On the third day in Lhasa we went to visit a nunnery. Below this prayer hall is a tiny room with a hole in the ground. It is told that the tibetan king Songtsan Gampo once sat in there for 12 (!) years in the darkness for meditation.

The hotels in Tibet, even the good ones, seriously lack of good insulation. With the coldness in wintertime (-15°C in the night is common), it is also seriously cold inside. Here is our window in the morning with iceflowers… brrr

On our third day we went out to visit the Sera Monastery. Here is a famous temple, where people put their heads into a hole of a shrine where a monk is sitting inside. This monk paints a black spot on their forehead and he plays the role of a „Baby Buddha protector“. It is supposed to give health and long life to the children, but also adults went there to get the black spot. We were astonished by the tremendous amount of people coming there waiting for hours to get inside.

A great amount of the people still wears traditional clothing.

In the afternoon we went to the holy mountain (Chagpo Ri) in Lhasa. Many people come here and leave small things like buddha statues, prayer flags etc.

Next to the holy mountain is a collection of buddha paintings.

And opposite of all the paintings is a hall where butter lamps are burnt for religious purposes. It was REALLY hot in there and there air like gasy yak-butter.

This is the Lhasa river, where we went in the afternoon. If their children die, some tibetan people throw them into this river, after cutting them into pieces. Then the fishes eat them. Thats one reason why tibetan people dont like to eat fish.

Then we started our road trip through tibet. Here we are next to the Yamdruk lake. The point where we are standing is on 5500m!

Here we are behind the Karo La Pass and we are admiring the Glaciers of the „Glacier Mountain“ (Mt Nojin Kangtsang), which is 7191m high.

We went for a nice slow walk around this place.

We spent the next night in Shigatse. In the morning we went to visit the Ta Shi Lhun Po Monastery there.

Then we went on into the direction of Mount Everest. In the Background you can see already the Mount Everest Natural Reserve. This Picture was taken on the summit of a „small“ hill on maybe 5000m or higher. I had a hard time to convince Ervil to climb this hill. Even if it was just 1 km or so to walk, in this height it is very exhausting. But we made it!

Here we are at the entry to the Mount Everest (Qomolangma) National Nature Reserve.

Actually you have to have all kinds of Permits to travel these Roads nowadays and there are Checkpoints all the time.

Much of the Country in Tibet is very dry, like a desert.

Here we see the Mount Everest for the first time. Ervil already stands on the summit!

The triangle in the middle is the Mount Everest.

Shortly before we were supposed to reach the basecamp, we had a flat tire. We started to worry if we can still make it, but we were well prepared and had a spare tire.

And here we are with the basecamp almost in sight. We had to cross the ice on the last kilometres. Then we understood why it is so necessary to get here with a Land Rover.

Here we are at the marking stone of the Mount Everest Base camp on 5200m!

The temperatures were bitterly cold, but with the strong sun and almost no wind, it was very nice. In summertime this place is packet with tents from the climbers, but in wintertime it is empty and we were the only ones to enjoy this place.

Many of the climbers write their country‘s name with stones on the ground, we wrote our initials!

Doing the famous „playboy-pose“! On Ice!

We stayed at this place for several hours and enjoyed it very much, but everything has an end..

And we went to this guest house. This is not a beautiful picture but we took it for documentation. The rooms (behind the red doors), have nothing but a bed. There is no running water and the square was basically our bathroom. Don’t get me started about the toilets…

Yaks crossing our way on the next day.

Here we have reached a view on the Eightthousander Xixibangma.

I took the challenge to take a few pictures half naked. Try that in windy -10°C or so!

Then we already went towards the nepalese border.

Up in tibet in wintertime, everything is brown and grey..

But when you go down to the border to nepal in Zhangmu, everything turns green. Its delightful after the nature in Tibet.

And here we are already in Nepal, visiting the old town of Bhaktapur. Here are many temples with a lot of nicely carved small figures. One of the most interesting things for a European here are maybe also the almost medieval conditions, under which some people live.

After a night in Kathmandu we went to Pokhara and from there we started a 4-days-hike in the Annapurna Region. Looking back, we can call this trip now a 4-Seasons-Trip. On the first day we experienced Summertime:

The second day started of extremely exhausting, we climbed steep steps for hours.

The steps didn’t seem to come to and end…

And then fall started. More than half of the day we had terrible rain.

The next day winter had come!

We hiked through winterly condictions: steep, slippery, wet and cold.

In the background is usually a nice view on the Annapurna Region, but whatever..

The next day after going down a little, spring had come again.

And we could finally  catch a glimpse of Annapurna South.

We spent the Night again in Pokhara and enjoyed the Sunset there (well.. In the picture its sunrise, but looks almost the same). The steep and high peak is the Machapuchre (a little over 7000m). One of the most beautiful mountains in the world as we think…

The hike was more exhausting as we had imagined, so we spent one more day in Pokhara to relax. Then we returned to Kathmandu, to spend the last night there.

We finished the day by climbing up to the Swayambhunath Stupa. This place is famous for the monkeys living there.
The next day we returned to China with rich memories to all the places we have seen and experiences we have made.

Flood in Wuhan

Obviously many people have heard about the bad weather we have had here in China over the past weeks. Indeed we had some very serious thunderstorms here with heavy rains. Sometimes the water supply had a blackout in our place (funny: heavy rain outside and inside no water…).  We have seen that the water levels of the rivers and lakes in and around Wuhan are very high. Large areas around the rivers are flooded. The houses there are half under water and it looks somewhat like this:

(source: Reuters)

However, these are only the areas right next to the rivers and before the dams. In our area there is no danger as long as the 3 Gorges dam doesnt break ;).

Guilin – Yangshuo two of the most famous destinations in China for foreigners

Last wednesday we started off or a 4-days trip to the Guangxi Province of China. The most famous destinations there are Guilin and Yangshuo.  According to the lonely Planet guide, Yangshuo is one of the most famous places for foreign tourists in China.

We started our first evening in Guilin with a nice dinner. The fish in China is always fresh, you choose it when it is still alive. The way to kill the fish needs a little get used to for people who are very peculiar about hygiene:

Guilin is indeed a nice city and central lakes remind me a little of the Alster in Hamburg, even though they are a little smaller.

Here an example of a funny translation of Chinese to english:

The next day we took of to Yangshuo. It lies next to the Li river and has a lot of water in and around:

Here the Li river with the boats that can be hired:

At night time the surrounding hills are beautifully illuminated.

I think one of the best ways to explore the landscape is by bicycle. We took a tandem and sharing the exertion makes the ride even nicer.

Along the way there are lime trees. We would have loved to take some leaves along for cooking.. unfortunately they would not have reached our home freshly…

In the middle of our trip we climbed the ‚moon hill‘. It is called like that because it has a hole in it which is shaped like a lying moon. Due to temperatures above the 30’s and high humidity that was a sweaty task, but we made it in incredible speed.

There is the ‚moon‘:
Since the weekend began, the enormous tourist-crowd in Yangshuo grew to a roaring mass:

The next day we visited the famous ’20-Renminbi (Chinese currency)‘-view. On the bill this place is calm and relaxed with only one fisherman on the river.. (check out the bill on the pic:)

In reality it is packed with rafts and tourists.

With so many boats and tourists, accidents can happen:

Back in Yangshuo:

The next day we visited a village called Huangluo.

In the old days the villagers lived off farming, nowadays they seem to make better money out of tourism, as everybody seems to be busy to sell handicrafts.

This village is famous for their women and their long hair. They cut their hair only once (!) in their lifetime when they become 18 and afterwards they still use the ‚old hair‘ as  extensions.

Check out these ‚Rapunzels‘:

In the end we visited the famous Longji Terraces, which are rice fields high up in the mountains.

A wuhanese Delicacy

A famous Delicacy here in Wuhan are chicken feet.  A friend of ours gave us some a few days ago. I ate them for lunch now.

I have to admit it is a little gross to eat them. They are actually just bones, cartilage and skin. However, after getting used to it, the taste is not too bad at all.

Wuhan weather report

When we came back from our holiday trip, which is now 1,5 weeks ago, temperatures where quite cold in Wuhan, around 0°C.  It stayed like that for few days. Now the temperature has risen up to 23° the day before yesterday. Yesterday we accounted a thunderstorm as a result from this quick change in temperatures. I took the following picture shortly before the thunder and rain started.