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Himalaya Expedition 2015

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Dispatch from David Ow

A landslide closed the highway from Lijiang to Lhasa, Tibet so we flew into Lhasa and had rental Yamaha 250 street motorcycles to ride to the North Face of Mount Everest Base Camp. Also Helge was not allowed a visa so he stayed back in Lijiang. We had a couple of days interesting sightseeing in Lhasa which included the Portola Place, Drepung Monastery and National Museum.


Our local guide Dorgee did an outstanding job giving us his view of current events and historical facts. Ja Bo was our motorcycle guide and mechanic during the 800 mile ride. He saw and fixed a loose gear shift lever and a almost flat tire on my motorcycle before I even noticed. The ride to base camp was amazing with glaciers, deep blue lake, farmers harvesting barley and mountain passes at 15,000 feet with over 150 hair pin turns.


At base camp with an elevation of 17,000 feet and a clear sky, Mt. Everest was an impressive sight that I will always remember. Back in Lhasa we visited a carpet factory operated by a monastery and profits shared with the workers. I saw a tiger carpet that I liked and bought it and they shipped it home for me. The carpet got delivered before I got home.


Back in Lijiang we spent another evening in the Ancient City along with thousands of local tourist. There was a celebration with a love theme so there were many young couples having fun. The ride along the mountain passes and Lancang River was a highlight of Southern China. My nit picks and negative comments were all forgotten after such an amazing and challenging ride.


Leaving China and into Myanmar went smoothly with immigration and customs on both sides. I was expecting to see a huge military presence and oppressed people but I was pleasantly surprised to see the complete opposite. We stayed that night next to the boarder crossing and it there was heavy truck, car and motor scooter traffic, busy restaurants and markets. In Mandalay we went sightseeing and the numerous local trinket hawkers were very persistent but polite. One very pretty young lady almost convinced me to buy a $1 bracelet. I should have just to help her but I was just too cheap.


Inle Lake was an impressive and beautiful sight. We toured in fast long boats to the many lake side villages and markets. The farmers grow tomatoes on floating islands that continue as far as I could see. We went to a Buddhist festival with thousands of locals that include carnival rides, food booths, bars, markets and temples. Hundreds of locals buy gold leaf squares and rub them on the Buddha in the temples.


In Bagan we went for a hot air balloon ride and I was apprehensive with my fear of heights. Our piolet was young lady from Switzerland. She and her father operate three balloons during the tourist season.


Once up in the air I was able to relax and enjoy the view. Bagan has over a thousand pagodas of different ages and sizes and with a dozen other hot air balloons it was a beautiful sight. There had been heavy rains a few weeks before and were told bridges were damaged and the road closed. Just our luck temporary bridges were made just in time for us to cross. Along the way we passed political rally for "The Lady" that was a caravan of trucks and busses jam backed with energetic and happy supporters. Elections were in a 4 days. She and her party won over the military party.






Helge's Photo Gallery



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