Friday, 24 July 2009

Tibet Hotel, Lhasa

The train reached Lhasa at 10.30 pm. We had to walk a distance from the train station to the parking lot where our coach was waiting. I was completely exhausted from lack of sleep since I was constantly traveling. While I slept extremely well in the train, my energy was not completely replenished. I have to thank my excitement for keeping my energy constantly up. Despite the many warnings from the tour guide about having late night showers, I still went ahead. I haven't bathed for three days since I flew from Singapore and God knows when I last washed my hair, hahaha! The itch was unbearable, hahaha!

We were told to walk slowly as we've just reached high grounds and our bodies would take time to acclimatise. I was excited and was marching towards the hotel when halfway upon reaching the hotel's entrance, I caught myself panting from the thin air. I felt like an old lady, hahaha!

We stayed at the ground floor of the hotel where our room is near the stairs that led from the main lobby. After we placed our bags, the first to crash on the bed was my sister. We were worried of catching a cold as the warnings from our tour guide sounded serious. So, both mum and sis decided not to shower.

We were advised also not to wash our hair and if we did, we are to towel dry than to use the hair dryer and I am not sure why. I was the last to go and I had to shower with a cockroach lurking by the corner of the bathtub. I had a fear of cockroaches so having it there made me shower quicker than I had wanted. The shower head was faulty as only sprinkles of water came and I was caught between unpleasant temperatures because of the scalding hot water and freezing cold water. I had adjusted the temperature by turning the dial a little towards the cold side but the water immediately turned cold. It was a crazy shower! After having one felt like heaven despite the madness that went on while I was at it.

My sister was feeling extremely cold so we adjusted the temperature in our room. That night, both mum and I woke up in the middle of the night feeling extremely warm. It turned out that the control is for the heater and it wasn't an air-conditioner!

The following day, I had a terrible headache and it wouldn't go away until the next day. Many of us in the group had this problem and it is supposedly natural as our body is trying to adapt to the environment. The amazing thing was that I completely forgot about my headache when we were at the Potala Temple (photos in the next blog post). I am glad I had it for just a day because the days to follow became awesomely interesting.

The temperature in Tibet during the end of June is 15 degrees Celsius. Prior to the trip, we were advised to bring warm clothings and I brought a bulky winter jacket which I borrowed from J. I didn't want to bring my big Eskimo-looking winter jacket. I regretted bringing the jacket because it wasn't as cold as I'd thought. A t-shirt and a sweater would have suffice. Bring also a scarf for the trip to the Kambala Pass in Shigatsu where it is colder.

The front view of the hotel

Ahh BED!!

The hotels were stayed in Tibet all had loads of tea leaves for us to brew tea with. In fact, tea became the ultimate remedy towards fighting against colds and acclimatisation difficulty in the following days to come. We drank loads of tea everyday and we love the fragrance of the tea there. Tibet Hotel replenishes the white porcelain container with loads of tea leaves. My sister and I got so thrilled to find it filled whenever we came back from our tours. And, there are three porcelain mugs with covers for us. But, one of them had a crack on it and it leaked.

Beautiful tapestry of the great Potala Temple. I was looking for one throughout my entire trip and finally found one at the Lhasa Airport on the day I was leaving for Shanghai. Later I found out that the hotel actually sells them for 220RMB (one of our tour group members bought two) but I got it for 230 because the lady at the airport refused to lower the price.

That's me on the mirror reflection trying to get a picture of this side of the hotel room. Overall, the room is clean and the beds are comfy. The only problems we had with the room is the shower head, which we later lodged a complaint and had a plumber fix it.

In the morning, we had breakfast at this banquet hall, the Sunshine Banquet Hall. Everyday, we had porridge with loads of green veggies and drank loads of tea. What I realise is that there are no law enforcement on smoking in Tibet and Shanghai. I'm not sure if it goes for the whole of China. People smoke in restaurants and it was unpleasant.

A door to another banquet hall

Pinkish flowers in the hotel grounds

This is supposed to be a bar but, while I was there I haven't seen any signs of activities during both day and night.

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