August 16th 2017
Published: August 16th 2017
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Why Tibet? I had wanted to go last time I was in China, for most except the Chinese it is permit only and one must be part of a tour group, there must be a reason for all that. KK has forever wanted to see the monks, monasteries, prayer flags, Nepal or Tibet.

3am alarm for 4am airport 12th August. KK sharing her small suitcase down from 14 to 7kgs, hey6 hey traveller. 3.45 taxi to T2 domestic airport, Tibet is part of China.

Pile out of taxi, find a security line that’s open, very busy as still school holidays, Chinese domestic tourism is phenomenal. Find a board with departure details, no Sichuan Airways to Tibet, must be in wrong area, go for walk find another board, same, no info place open, check all the ticket small print, Sichuan Airways leaving from International Airport, Fwaaaaaaaarrrrrk.

Time 4.20 for 6.10 flight not disastrous yet, walk or taxi? Warm morning, hot and sweaty, how far, barriers? Take a taxi, must be at arrivals, down a floor, find exit that’s open to taxis, taxi swarm, drivers gesturing, keep heading for front of queue, write T1 on piece of paper, debate amongst drivers, only short job, spokesman $50 yuan, me looking reluctant, they indicating walking signs, me thinking only $10 for a fuck up, taxi driver group selected was not at the front of the queue. How’s he going to get out of here in good time KKs asking we should have walked, faith beginning to crack a little, but otherwise showing remarkable restraint. Never fear when a taxi driver wants to go somewhere, squeezing backwards against traffic, manoeuvring his way out KK muttering under her breath “we should have walked”, suddenly foot down into an open space, racing around the ring roads, an extra round so we get our monies worth and pull up at international, through security, much quieter here, find departure board, Sichuan to Tibet with counter no. Find Sichuan airways and 1st class counter with no line, show ticket here for further directions, she hands it to her ticket issuing buddy, who asks for our permit and passports, shit we are in.

Departure lounge, after security and more permit checks, 5am, KK mostly relieved that permit paper looking more real.

All the small things that can break and make a day.

Landed Lhasa airport 8.30, keep steadily moving through, immigration, baggage reclaim, more permit checks and found a vista travel representative.

We actually here, a little breathless at 3600 meters and our audacity.

Hour drive to Lhasa comfortable hotel room, fresh up and hit the streets. What a wonderful cacophony of markets, small shops, traditional dress, incense, tuk-tuks, rickshaws, scooters, crazy traffic and a couple of whities in awe and so pleased to be here.

We collapse around 6, travel and altitude exhaustion, tomorrow hook up with our small group and hit the monasteries.

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