Back from Nam Tso Lake

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Alright I made it back safe and sound. The Lake was very beautiful, I suppose sort of like Alaska in many ways with some Tibetan touches. There were huge mountain ranges all around the lake, and the lake itself was a brilliant blue like the cleanest ocean (its a saltwater lake). There were also some amazing cloud formations to be seen and you could see much of the sky in all directions. Although it was pleasant most of the time where we were it we could see at least two other areas getting high levels of rain.

The ride up to the lake was interesting as well, we had a guide who spoke no english, which I suppose really makes him a driver. He let us stop a few times to take pictures on the way - there were some amazing landscapes, and a lot of yaks and sheep along the way. There was also some sort of small river running along the road that looked like it had at least some class III rapids. We passed through a couple of small towns which were interesting (and not really that nice) and also made one stop at the gate to buy a ticket into the park (about $5). There were a number of little kids begging for money at the gate, so I decided to give them some candy, when word got out I had no less than 15 kids (and 2 old women) swarming around me with their hands out. At one point they were even pulling on my pockets and shirt trying to get candy. Its was a little disconcerting, but eventually our driver yelled something in Tibetan and they dispersed.

We continued up the road to the highest point (17,027 feet - or roughly 3.2 miles above sea level). We were only about 10,000 feet lower than the highest point of Mount Everest. We then went down to the Lake which was about 900 feet lower. We were able to actually get decent accommodations, we were in a restaurant that had some extra rooms. We had a small room with 3 beds (Only three of us made it - one of the English guys was not feeling well enough to make the trip). We tried to eat some dinner, but the menu had direct translations from Chinese which made it very hard to understand, we stuck mostly to the bread and jam we brought with.

We walked about a mile along the lakeshore and back, and also climbed up some of the smaller mountains along the lakeshore to get a better view. I took a lot of pictures as the scenery was amazing.

We all felt pretty good going into the night, maybe a slight headache and also a little dizzy. Its also amazing how the lack of oxygen affects your ability to do just about anything. I find myself winded after going up even three flights of stairs to my hostel in Lhasa and you have 20% more oxygen there than at the Lake. We were all pretty exhausted after walking around all day (what would normally be a light day for me). I went to bed around 9:30 feeling pretty good.

Around 3AM I awoke and felt a little queasy - however I remembered that the bathroom was about 600 feet away (outside) and I also remembered it was about 20 degress and windy outside, so I just held it. I awoke again around 6AM, and there was no way to I could wait, my stomach was churning and something was going to give. I threw on my headlamp, and my shoes and bolted for the door. It was quite dark out as I briskly walked towards the toilet. When I got about 20 feet away was greeted by the sounds of barking and growling coming from a rather large black and white dog that came out of nowhere. I continued my run for the bathroom (Nature won out over danger at this point) and got inside. Now mind you this is no western toilet - its a Chinese toilet - and one of the worst I have seen so far (and that is saying a lot). Here is a picture of something similar (of course this was made entirely of concrete, and there was no nice fancy white dividers - oh not to mention the floors were covered in various, lets say 'debris'). Now there was one saving grace, the dog would not even venture into this thing (of course there was no door) He just sat outside barking and growling the entire time I was inside. When I was finally finished - I knew what was ahead of me - a 600 foot walk with a growling angry dog chasing me the entire way.

The bathroom was elevated to some degree, so I stood about 10 feet tall on the ledge, which kept the dog at bay. Of course I knew I had to get off this ledge somehow so I walked to side and looked for some rocks. I grabbed two about 4 inches in diameter, and one that was twice the size of my hand. The second I got down from the bathroom the dog closed in and stood about two feet from me barking and growling madly. I walked slowly backwards keeping my eye on the dog and raised myself up as big as I could. I continued to yell "go home" at the dog (not that I thought he would listen, but the more noise I made and the bigger I looked the less likely the dog would be to attack - at least that was my thinking.) Finally I realized this wasn't working well so I threw on of the smaller rocks near the dog hoping to scare it. Not the best plan, the dog seemed to get angry at this and closed to about 1 foot and began growling even more. I hoped if I got far enough away from whatever he was trying to protect he would eventually leave me alone. I continued walking backwards ready to hit him with the big rock if he lunged at me - around this time I heard some more barking coming from behind the dog (probably about 100 feet away). The dog stopped barking and turned back about 5 feet to either acknowledge, attack, or recruit the other dog - I have no idea. I saw my chance and bolted for the door of our place (about 300 feet) and slammed the door behind me.

I collapsed into one of the chairs outside our room, and all I could do was sit as I was so out of breath (running at that altitude is almost impossible). Dean came out of the room to ask me what he hell was going on (he had heard the barking, my yelling, and the sound of me running and slamming the door). We had a good laugh about it all and I went back to bed. These are the kind of things that happen when you are on the road I guess, and I escaped unscathed with a good story to tell...

2 Comments

I see you met my dog Max, I told him you'd be up there. I can't believe you almost got your ass handed to you by a dog...just think how bad it's gonna be when you come back and I whoop you at Maddens...I'm way tougher than a dog.

Yikes, that toilet looks pretty nasty! Looking forward to Australia?

I'm entertained by your stuff...keep it up :)

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