Day 321 - Culture shock... WHITE PEOPLE


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Asia » China
May 19th 2007
Published: May 19th 2007
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500km we had to travel today and it started well with good weather and road conditions. We were even able to stop off at a beautiful scenic lake which is just set up for tourists to come and visit and get as much money out of us as they can. After the entrance fee, you can buy all kinds of things and varying types of boat rides on the lake. We’d been advised to skip some hot springs a few days ago because there was a better one coming up, and after visiting this better one it made us wonder what the first one could have been like. Hot springs are supposed to be places where you go to relax in the warm water and pamper yourself, and we’ve been to a couple of great ones in Iceland and Alaska, but this was literally just a deserted complex of concrete buildings that looked well past its sell by date. Lunch was at a strange strip of seemingly identical restaurants in the middle of nowhere, all waving frantically at us for our custom.

In the afternoon we arrived in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital. And it’s true to say we were in for a bit of a culture shock. For the past week or so we’ve been well away from the tourist trail, and it has been excellent. We’ve come across one Englishman, who seemed about as pleased to see us as we were him (not very), and one Swiss cyclist. Everywhere we go people stop what they’re doing to stare at us and say ‘hello’ (everyone knows that word), or just point us out to their friends. But in Lhasa it’s completely different with loads of western tourists, mostly in their 50s and 60s. The good thing about all these westerners is that they can support a few restaurants serving western-style food - it’s amazing how nice pasta tastes when you’ve been denied it for a while.





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