I don't have much time but had to update that I am currently sitting in Lhasa, Tibet!!! And it is amazing!!!
The trip so far has been wonderful: stayed with my friends and experienced local culture to the max in the world's most landlocked city of Urumqi, roamed around ancient desert ruins in the old city of Jiaohe, ate grapes from the vine in the 2nd lowest city in the world of Turpan, climbed around clay colored desert mountains in the Turpan basin, watched the sun set and rise over the sandy dunes where I CAMPED with three great Spanish girls in the Taklamakan Desert...surrounded on all sides by nothing but sand and sand and sand and heard nothing but the sound of the wind sweeping across the dunes, shopped in the old market in the oasis city of Kashgar on the Silk Road...
Then took the 24 hour train up up up into the Tibetan Plateau and watched shepherds herd sheep and yaks along the bright green grasslands edged with magnificent ice capped mountains and turquoise blue lakes. Now in Lhasa, the world's highest city..already ate some yak meat and it truly is the rooftop of the world...the sky seems so close that I could reach up and gather it in my hand...it looks like the mountains literally support the sky and i've never seen clouds so stunning.
The altitude is messing with us only a little so far...we feel a little blurry...but other than that it's ok. My tour companions are kindred spirits, we have a French guy, and Italian/British woman, a Japanese woman, a Chinese Canadian, and me. Quite an international group. Traveling alone has emboldened me and I've made some really fun friends along the road...the night before the train I was out until 1:30 with the Tibetan owner of the company we used for our tour agency and his friends. I'm thrilled and having the time of my life!
I'll post pictures and describe the places and people when I have time...but for now just had to say that I am actually HERE...it's real, it happened, and I still can barely believe it! Love to you all!
1 week ago