Trying the trick of use both blankets while sleeping ensured me my beauty sleep. I had breakfast at the ‘missing wall instead of door’ place, nice dumplings at the facile price of 0.05 € each. It was time to check out Jokhang which was closed when I encircled it yesterday. When leaving I checked the message board and called a group heading to Mt Everest Base Camp and back to Lhasa. To my luck they were three people already which meant low price. They would confirm details with the drivers and let me know after lunch.
After “moving” in a queue that would make russians inpatient for more than an hour I broke lose from the crowd, just after bumping into Sakura again. This is supposedly the holiest of holy things which perhaps explains the amount of visitors. I had to pay a 7 € entrance fee while Sakura who didn’t have the western appearance got in for free. The money doesn’t really matter but the fact that I give more than 20 breakfasts straight into the ruling government kind of irritates me.
Off to Spinn Cafe for a miso soup and publishing the blog, who comes in if not Sakura. We decide that we would split a cab to Sera Monastery but not after getting a warm shower at the hotel (the water is heated by solar power which means ice-cold at night or morning, when most people tend to take their showers). Well at the hotel I don’t have any messages from the group so I call them. They left a message for the wrong room and the message was that they joined up with three other guys so now that ride was full. Kind of sucks. I put up my own poster now as a backup plan since Jung-Wook and Sakura will head for the border than back to Lhasa.
The shower was lovely, the luxury of not enduring washing oneself but rather enjoying is not to be underestimated. We grabbed a cab to Sera Monastary, once housing some 5000 monks but now only a few hundred. We looked forward to see the monks debating but it seemed that that was cancelled today or for the season.The monastery had a calm atmosphere and despite some beggars being a bit annoying everyone was friendly, smiling seem to be the default facial expression for tibetan people. The monks use solar power to heat up water in kettles, the high altitude helps but empirical tests showed that the kettles were still hot enough.The buildings were hand-painted white and gave a feeling of something like spain or greece. The sun did it’s part as well and reminded me that I had forgot to replenish my sunscreen after the shower.After some strolling we left for eating outside the monastery and I tried their dumplings with Yak meat. Real nice, same price per dumpling as the breakfast. Who said Tibetan food was bad? To get back to the hotel we tried a minibus full of locals, it was cosy and not less safe then the cabs so I might use those more in the future.
Checking some ways of getting back to Beijing proved that flight was about 250 € and the train about 80 €. I guess we will see how much time I have left, and also weight factors like environment, price and 48 hours on a route I’ve already passed. Next stop is seeing whether we get a deal with a driver at 20 today, I trust my karma to be gentle.