Published: June 27th 2012June 27th 2012
The trip to Sershu...what a nighmare...
Marcelo and I woke up early and we found just next to the exit of the town a car that offered to us take us to our new destination. He charged us low for Sershu Gompa, just 50Y exactly the same as the fair the bus will charge us if that ghost and remote possibility of existence appeared at 8 am there, which did not happened. In the Lonely Planet guide said that it was a trip of 3 to 4 hours. But its end up being more than 7 in a chaotic journey that finally ends well and with joy.
We passed around nomads communities, that work with their yaks and live in tends. We drank green tea with cookies. We sang. We took pictures until the good vibe ended.
The road was better than the Dege one but for short few periods. It was again in the mountains and it was a bumpy way. After the first 2 hours of amazing landscape it started to rain, not much, just enough to make the dirt of the road a mess and the temperature to be cooler and cooler. The driver was a religious, quite and distracted person that we still do not understand why lost control of the car and crashed thanks God in a low speed into a tractor that was parked in the edge of the road. The tractor saves us our life. Because it made us stopped immediately with the impact. The tractor gone to the air and made turns down on the mountain for a block until arrived to the edge of a small river.
I have never had an accident in my life, and this was so stupid and unexpected that I stayed in shock for a while trying to get to understand why the driver did not attempt to turn or avoid or do something different of what he did.
He has just gone over the tractor as if that were a car crash kids game. Not funny. We were there in the middle of the road, I left the car, it was raining and the small nomad community, specially the owner of the tractor came immediately to shout and quarrel with the driver that destroyed their tool of work apparently without any reason. We missed what they said to each other. Marcelo filmed and took pictures. I was numbed.
The car become damages as well the whole front of it. I was in the front sit next to the driver and I have just finish recording something so I was lucky to have my 2 hands free to protect me against the front window. I hit my head with the roof; hit my hands trying to protect me, my knee, and my left bottom side who knows how. But it was nothing real severe. It was a big and intense emotional moment. Marcelo was in the back, for the first time we changed places, and he did not get hit. But if the car was not stopped by the tractor he would be the one that will be trapped in a sit with a door that was not able to open from the inside.
I wanted to leave the car and the place immediately after the accident, but stupidly I asked Marcelo, should we have to wait to the Police? He laughed telling me, not kid (nena
), actually he said boluda!
A world that he liked to mention every minute and makes me feel very uncomfortable, there is not need of any insurance process here!
I had a horrible headache, a mix of the hit, the altitude, and probably my PMS symptoms as well. I stay still and quiet. Marcelo started to shoot his camera. After a while the driver that was dealing with the local people came to ask us the money of the ride. Marcelo then over react by shouting to the guy in the typical passional Argentinean way, as we where in a soccer stadium having a flight wit the other team, that he is not going to pay a penny… Argentinean men can be so stupid sometimes! Two minivans passed and consciously stopped to witness the accident. All the passengers decent to see it from a closed perspective. We asked those drivers to take us. We thought we where just 30 km from our destination. They where asking 4 times the price we originally agreed to spend in our first ride. Marcelo was out of himself cursing them. He could not believe how this people wanted to make profit instead of pick up and takes as for free as a humanitarian gesture or at least accept the amount we wanted to pay.
We where in the middle of nowhere surrounded by mountains and I said I will start walking. I began to push my wheel bag and everybody laugh. Marcelo did many fuck you gestures and shout in Spanish unpronounced things. I was afraid that some of these drivers would come after us with a knife and kill us there. It was not a moment to show whom else it was more masculine. I just wanted that they live us alone and wait for another driver to hitchhike. Hopefully they left also shouting us probably some fuck-you-s in Tibetan or Chinese. I sat in a corner of the road and took my head. Marcelo peaceful as nothing happened continued by taking his semi professional in his new Nikon D800 camera with a super elegant fish eye lent…I was wordless. Then he wanted to convince another driver that was going in the contrary direction to turn and takes us 30 km to Sershu Gompa. No way the driver says, he was explaining that he was not going there. Marcelo seems not wanted to understand or care about his will. Suddenly another minivan was approaching. The driver was a young monk. He said something that we did not get at this moment, but then he accepted to take us for free. After an hour, we realized what he have said at the beginning of our agreement, he was not going to our destination but to another town in the same direction. Kindly, he dropped us in the middle of a dusty town. It took us 20 minutes to realized where we where. The ride Manigango to Sershu that was supposed to be 3 to 4 hour as the Lonely Planet said was already more than 7 hours. We still where very far from our destination but in the direction.
Another car stopped and agreed to take us. It was a lovely couple or a mom and his soon; we have never figured it out. After an hour drive the young guy that talked and laughed as the Amadeus character in Chinese or Tibetan during the whole time stopped. The couple decided it was sunny and time for a picnic. They grabbed their snacks and they laid on the grass covered they faces of the sun they enter in their nap and slept. Marcelo went to run after the Yak trying to take pictures of them in good close ups. I covered from the sun as well, and have a short nap as well. Suddenly a cute little peasant girl appears. I gave her sweats cookies and small little monkey toy that was attached to my fake branded backpack. After that all the family join us to witness the rarity of having forgings in their back yard.
It was a lovely afternoon after the cloudy and awful morning. We played, they discover my iphone and we delight with the options to move photos, make them bigger and small, and once the father understand the logic become a savvy photographer user of it. More neighbors arrived to great us. This time they arrived on horses. They show off their diverse acquisitions and allowed us to ride them for a picture with them. The couple that gave us the ride continued peacefully in their sleep. After 2 hours they wake up and the driver suggest us to come back to the car.
They left in Sershu city not the monastery, we still had 30 km to go…I was pissed of, they said they were going to Sershu Gompa. But in the end was a good idea to stopped there to eat something and continue our journey. My heath was still in pain, I wanted to think that the PMS was the reason. Not thinking of the accident or the altitude that will ruin everything and will worried me. I envision my guru, though about Susan and my mantra and I decided that everything was all right; if God wanted me to die he should have done it already. I was lucky alive walking forward the destroyed tractor that stayed mashed in tiny pieces on the middle of nowhere.
A police stopped us asking for our passports. Marcelo did not wanted to give it to him. He was not in uniform. But he has his id and he called someone who spoke in English to me saying I needed to give my passport to this guy, to make a copy, or register in this town even if we where not wanted to sleep there. Finally we did this; we gave them passports for copies. He was happy and helpful after that. He called another friend also with his phone that also in English offered us help for the next day in case we need to communicate with someone in Sershu Gompa. We thanked and left this crowed dirty town in another van that the un-uniformed police found for us by paying a real local price.
We finally arrived to the Sershu Monastery town. Marcelo, wanted to be a gentleman offered to take my meal bag with the goodies I bought in Sershu City. I do not know what he has done, but the bag went to the floor and he broke the jar with my leeches. We went walking several blocks with the bag dropping the juice of the broken jar. I was not going to eat leeches with glasses, the last thing I need this day was to cut my mouth. He insisted on carrying it. Marcelo can be more stubborn than me sometimes. I did not have strength to quarrel. Sometimes is better to just give up and let others do stupid things.
We found the hotel next to the temples after passing several groups of big dirty Tibetan dogs aware of the smell of the leeches I guess, that enjoyed barking to us a lot and they seemed very scary for me after the Spanish Maningango description of their experience with them.
Once in the hotel, I slept immediately again as soon as touch the bed. No light not shower again in Sershu Gompa, even the hotel charges you for a room as if they had it. Big emotions and high altitude is a great combo to knock you down without even time to wish you to your fellows sweat dreams, I even slept with clothes and with my bra on!