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梦中的岁月

The Home of My Soul

 
 
 

日志

 
 

【原创】WHERE DASIPHORA FRUTICOSA BLOOMS Ⅵ  

2010-05-04 17:28:21|  分类: 驴行天下 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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 6. Step into the Himalayan

Quzha drove fast; the average speed was over 100 kilometers per hour. Tibetan villages along the road were passed by from time to time. The style of residential constructions here are quite different from those in Nyingchi: most of the eaves and windows here are black-edged, some looks shabby as if they are Abandoned(Some may indeed be abandoned)and their locations are very desolate. Normally, there are courtyards walled with soil parapets before or behind the house, most of the courtyards are empty. The pastures have some lank grass; flocks and herds are nibbling on the almost barren land tenaciously. From time to time, a Tibetan could be seen walking alone in wild field or on mountain slope where there were no flocks and herds and no villages nearby, I don’t know what they were doing there Some of them walking on the highway where there were no inhabitants within tens of miles, and they could even be seen on a mountain pass over 5000 meters above sea level. I saw a Tibetan woman with a baby on her back walking alone on the road in the strong sunlight of highland in the middle of nowhere. I wondered if she could get to a place where there were inhabitants before dark.

Getting out of Shigatse and traveling for 149 kilometers via 5’000km milestone of the national road 318, we came to Lhatse. Lhatse is known for its Tibetan daggers. After climbing the Gyatso La Pass which is 5248 meters above sea level (5260 showed by GPS), we get into the Qomolangma Nature Reserve. To enter the Qomolangma Natural Reserve,you should be registered at Lulu Frontier Inspection Station:show your border pass(got in Lhasa) and ID card to be registered. Entrance ticket price is 180 Yuan per one and 100 per wheel for autos. After luncheon in Baiba Tingri County, we go on to take our way to Qomolangma Base Camp. From now on, there will be no tarred road; the 105 kilometers’ gravel road is dusty and bumpy. Not long after, there was another ticket checking point. Then, the auto began to creep hard twisting its way up in an endless and gradually ascending stone blocks. Looking back, I saw the road winding and ascending stage by stage; At this point the auto was already in the mountainside. The road before us was still winding forward ceaselessly and the real summit was still invisible.  I learnt later that we were climbing the Jiuwula Mountain Pass at 5300 meters height above sea level.  It is said that Jiuwula has 110 curves all together. From Jiuwula Mountain Pass, panoramic view of five huge snow mountains all over 8000 meters above sea level can be seen; they are, from left to right, Mt. Makalu(8463m above sea level),Mt. Lhotse(8516m above sea level),Mt. Qomolangma(8844.43m),Mt. Cho Oyu(8201m above sea level),Mt. Shishapangma (8012m above sea level). A terrace is built on the pass, and there are some Tibetans selling various fossils, most of them are marine fossils. Walking to such a high place I do not know how many hours would be taken for a round trip. Here is an excellent viewing position of the Himalayas but all depend on good weather. Under the blue sky, leisurely drifting white clouds casted shadows on undulate mountains beneath our feet,evoking ones’ infinite reveries about nature and life. When going downhill, to take a short cut, Quzha drove the auto directly down the hill, the thrills and excitements were more than a rallycross. But I was worried at that time, it was mainly because of fearing that if there’s no way ahead, we would have no way back(this was the first time for him attempting to do so). The mountain is so high and steep; we could never back again even with a good performed Toyota off-road vehicle. Fortunately, we got back to the highway after a long off-road trip and we all relieved. Gravel road will become a road of washboard like if it is run over by too many autos and will be quite bumpy. Often, off-road driving would be smoother than driving on the road here.

After going down the hill, there are some villages along the road, generally not big, and arable land is not much; some villages are even located at very desolate places. I wonder what they live on. It is said that most of the entrance ticket income of the Qomolangma Natural Reserve are given to the villagers in the protected area. Whenever an auto goes through the villages, Children playing beside the road would wave to or solute the auto. Geological features along the route are very unusual. I am not a geologist, can not describe this, but it is really incredible how they formed then; geologists ‘interpretations of the similar geological features are merely specious, not convincing. We saw a hare at such a frigid, high altitude, oxygen-poor, dry and inhospitable place, hard to imagine how they can survive. Here is a place full of miracles—— the miracle of nature and the miracle of life.

When it was close to Qomolangma, the auto speeded ahead on the narrow gravel road along the Rongbuk River; again, endless, it seemed to me that the road to Everest never ends.  The left side are rocks, some are loose and are fixed with metal meshes; waters of the Rongbuk River is on the right, flowing with slight waves of Gray. There were large birds flying across in front of our vehicle at times and be filmed. The more closer to Everest the more a big quarry it looked like: there were stones in river, on road, beside road, and the rocky cliffs on both sides of the Rongbuk River like the traces left by quarry. The world around seemed to turn into a black and white all of a sudden: Gray water, gray stones, the gray and white Everest looming in the fog and the black tents of the Tibetan. People may forget that this world is colorful if it were not for the blue sky overhead, the red national flag and the flag of Qomolangma Nature Reserve flapping over the camp in the icy wind blowing from Rongbuk Glacier. Such a scene of chaotic rubble was left behind by glaciers­——Glacial relics; stones in the glacier-covered areas will not be weathered into soil. Altitude difference between those unnoticeable cliffs on both sides of Rongbuk ravine and the road in the ravine reached unexpectedly a mind-boggling height of 1000 meters!

Before, all the tourists went to the Everest would stay in Rongbuk Monastery, a wide bed for four in each room. Now, in tourist season, there are black tents, set up by local Tibetan, to live in. Rongbuk hotel is opposite Rongbuk Monastery, and there is a China Mobile Relay Station there. Mobile phone can be used in Everest, and the signal there is stronger than it is in Lhasa.

Who should pitch tents at the foot of Everest to receive tourists will be determined by the local villagers through drawing lots, only the successful applicants have the right to set up tents there. Such tents are unique to Tibetan area: the cord fabric woven with yak’s wool has the natural black of yak, it is cold-proof, ventilating and waterproof. The tents are pitched in a large square on an open space where is several kilometers closer to Everest than Rongbuk Monastery; its right side is the water of Rongbuk river melts and flows down from Rongbuk Glacier. In the center of the courtyard formed by the tents, there is a national flag fluttering in the wind, and, beneath the national flag, there is a flag of Qomolangma Nature Reserve. The Post Office of the Qomolangma is beside the southern row of the tents. The post office opens very late and closes very early. Tourist can buy postcard or send home his Everest Ticket Postcard; or spend five Yuan to have a postcard or an envelope postmarked. Tent hotel operators are not allowed to come out scrambling for tourists, otherwise the fine will be 800Yuan; whatever tent a tourist’s vehicle parked in front of, its passengers should stay in the tent, otherwise the fine will be 800Yuan, too. Quzha parked his vehicle in the center of the courtyard, not in front of any tent, and then, checked the tents one by one looking for the cleanest and the most comfortable one to stay in. the driver of the other auto was not experienced, he parked his automobile in front of a tent which was not so good.

Entering the tent, I felt it was neat and spacious; ethnic characteristic of the interior trim was strong. Couches were positioned in a circle along the walls serving as seats during the day and beds at night. Teapoys and rugs were just beside the couches. Quilts were woolen Piled up high in corners of the couches, very thick and clean. Before you went to bed, the hosts would roll it into a form of a sleeping bag like and let you get in. there was a stove in center of the tent for boiling water and heating the tent using cattle dung as fuel. Worrying about carbon monoxide poisoning at night, I tried with my hand and learnt that the fire has long been extinguished; it seems my fear is completely unnecessary. Hosts of the tent were a young Tibetan couple; their service was warm and thoughtful,frequently freshen our buttered tea. Their Chinese were not good, we communicate with them basically through Quzha. Quzha said to the owner of the tent that we could pay them more and they should not let other people live in, because it was not convenient. Sure enough,they no longer received any other person that night.

A Tibetan boy came round to our tent and we learnt from chatting that he and my daughter were born in the same year. He admired her when he learnt she’s a university student. He said he had only completed elementary school and no place to continue his schooling, and now came here to make money, but he wanted to go to school so much. His Chinese was not so good, using single word, not sentence when he spoke. When Han people speaks Han people’s language (Chinese) he can easily compose the Chinese characters into words, but the Tibetan and other peoples who start half way to learn Chinese should learn words, not simply characters so that they would understand the meaning of a sentence. May all the children in the world be able to go to school and have learning opportunities!            Elevation here is 5200 meters above sea level,Usually at an altitude of 4,000 meters, pressure cooker should be used for cooking, otherwise the food will not be cooked because of low temperature. “Conditions here are limited, should we have a bowl of noodles tonight?” Quzha said. And we all agreed. We took out our Vacuum-packed and cooked pork tenderloin bought in Kunming and asked the hostess to cut into piece and put in two big plates to share with everyone in the tent, including the owners of the Tent.           

There was no electricity here, the electricity used by the electricity-saving lamp in the tent was solar energy had collected at the day time. The light was dim, so the Tibetan couple put the lamp in a spherical glass tank filled with clean water, Sure enough, brightness increased a lot. I really admire their wisdom. Beside the Rongbuk River outside the tent circle, there was a latrine free of charge (it is rare in Tibet), but was reeking. There should be an Eco-Toilet here. The Tibetan guy who took me to the toilet said something, but I did not hear him clearly. He repeated again in bad Chinese:” Relieve nature there in the daytime,and anywhere as you wish at night”.  When the Tibetans selling fossils there saw my wife, they smiled to her, and then could not help asking her whether she was a Tibetan. Tibetans in Lhasa had asked her if she was a Tibetan or not; and later on in Shigatse, when we were having Tibetan food, the Proprietress said she looked like a Tibetan from Lhasa, too. I am amused by all these, Plus the mistake the Chengdu beauties made on train.  

When the auto arrived in the tent hotel square, wind was blowing freezingly and the Qomolangma was shrouded in mist. We armed ourselves with all the clothes we brought with us (many of them were bought specially for this tour) and ready to take the echo-vehicle to go to the real Qomolangma Base Camp 8 kilometers away. Round trip ticket for the environmental protection vehicle is 20 Yuan per person and it will stay at the base comp for one hour; no waiting if past the appointed time. Creeping among stones for 20 minutes, the vehicle got to the camp. On board, we saw some beaver like animals playing by the riverside.

At the base comp tourists should be registered again in a large military tent. There were only two armed policemen, a desk and several beds in the tent, and no more. There was an Everest Base Camp marking stone, some permanent houses and a sign of “Tourists stop” there. Everest was still in the fog, now visible, now hidden. Wind from Rongbuk Glacier was still freezing. There were Mani stone mounds big and small and the colorful Sutra Streamers on the stony beach. Stone tombs of the mountaineering victims could be seen from time to time. Straight-line distance from here to the Everest summit is about 12 kilometers. We began to pray for the lifting of the fog covering the Everest,Otherwise our journey would be in vain.

Starting from the second day in Lhasa, I have been coughing badly all the time; and later, became runny nose, typical bad cold symptoms. Fortunately, it didn’t cause high altitude pulmonary edema which is a horrible high altitude disease that can be life threatening within one day. Although having been taking medicine all the time, it was not very effective. Thank cold wind of the Rongbuk Glacier for blowing off all my disease. What a miracle that can not be explained!

From 8 to 9 o’clock in the evening, lifted gradually the fog covering the Everest, and the wind stopped blowing, too. The setting sun was shining at the summit of Mt. Everest glitteringly. People kept pressing the shutter buttons of the cameras in their hands, extremely excited. Standing at the foot of the top of the world was like in dream and the fanciful mind was awakened. Batteries in camera were changed frequently (for the sake of low temperature), Fortunately, I brought three packets of digital camera Batteries, 24 in all, plus eight special rechargeable batteries with me to ensure the supply.

Night was closing in,The five starred red flag was still streaming in the wind; beneath the distant top of the world, everywhere was silent, only the water of the Rongbuk was flowing. Stars were twinkling huge and bright in the night sky of the Qomolangma where is clear and out of the pollution of earthliness. I have seen stars on the sea, observing with ordinary telescope, the sky was thickly dotted by stars from bright to dark, layer upon layer without gap; the whole world seemed to be surrounded in the impregnable fortress, Frightening and suffocating. Unlike the stars above the sea, Everest stars were not so dense but much bigger and brighter. Though they are all out of the pollution of earthliness, they are quite different from each other. Though brought tripod with me, unfortunately I was not familiar with the newly bought digital camera, could not grasp this beautiful moment.

When I was sleeping at night, I felt muscle of my whole body uncomfortable and Heart blocked, too. As I could not go to sleep under such condition, and being afraid of could never waking up again after falling asleep, I simply got out of the "sleeping bag" and sat on the couch. I wanted to see if my daughter was ok, but afraid to disturb her sleep; I wanted to feel her to see if she was still breathing, but we were separated by a distance and blocked off by two tea tables; it was dark and not convenient. Then I thought, my wife and daughter slept head to head, she would look after her. Sat like this for a while, I doubt whether I could stand till the dawn; if I couldn’t, it would be a big problem transporting my body back. later,Still feeling uncomfortable,I wanted to go to relieve to see if it would be better. I stood up and walked to travelling bags to look for torch. I searched for long time and did not find it. The mobile light for lighting wakened my wife, and she found the torch (the bags were packed by her).  I asked her to go and see if our daughter was all right. She said she had put her finger on her nose, she’s breathing; she was all right. Then, we went out together. Hoarfrost-like moonlight was spraying on the earth; stars were not as bright and “close” as they were in the evening (they may be eclipsed by the moonlight). Looking at the watch, I saw it was nearly 6 o’clock. I learnt the next morning that, except my daughter and the Tibetan drivers, all the ones taking the two vehicles had sat up after midnight and dared not go to sleep, including the energetic, 24-year-old Beijing girl, being afraid of falling asleep and never wake up. In fact, as early as we were having dinner in Baiba Tingri, the Tianjinese, who shared the vehicle with us, said he finally experienced what a heart disease patient felt like; he said that his heart had never had a problem before and he did not know exactly what heart disease felt like. He said on the way that they brothers and sisters paid much attention to exercise, so they were all very healthy. Then,after coming back to our camp from the Everest Base Camp, he had a serious altitude sickness already. At Everest sunset, Quzha asked him to come out to take pictures; he answered and went out of the tent slowly, carrying his oversized camera which was purchased specifically for this trip; tottering and staggering, he’s already disoriented. Quzha was behind him and looking at him, ready to hold him in case he fell down. He, at least 180cm tall, reeled to and fro like a tumbler,and did not fall down in the end. He went to bed without eating anything. His friend, a rosy and plump man, with his teenaged son in another vehicle; all the way long, you could see how he loved his child. The child had a serious altitude sickness strongly after returning to the camp, and was unwilling to go out to piss; then, the father collected the piss of his son with a plastic bag of instant noodles on the carpet. The next day they wanted to return directly to Lhasa. Instead of the man from Tianjin, a boy from Wuhan shared the auto with us. In fact, he had already stayed with us in the same tent last night. Although the Tibetan driver was unwilling to go back to Lhasa directly, fatigue driving is dangerous, however, their request was agreed. The two from Beijing had no choice but went back to Lhasa together with them. When we part, the man from Tianjin came in to our tent and said goodbye to us and invited us to call on him whenever we go to Tianjin; seeing bewilderment in our faces, he added, the clay figurine Zhang Tianjin Culture Street. Quzha analyzed that he wanted to drive Quzha’s automobile on the way here and Quzha did not let me do that, so he was not happy and wanted to go back to Lhasa directly. He might think that, changing another automobile, he might have a chance to drive for a while. Of course, Quzha noticed the driver of that auto; he should have no more chance. He greatly appreciated the performance of Quzha’s auto.

Everest is magical, only the right one can see its true colors. Last night, we talked in tents, fearing the fog would not lift the next day. My daughter said she was not worried, because we would pray; in Hainan and Vietnam, experiences proved that it was extremely efficacious. Hainan had had typhoon and rained everyday before we went there; after we arrived, not a day under the rain, and when we were leaving, only tens minutes after the ship had left the port, we saw from faraway that it began to rain heavily in Haikou City. And later, it was the same when we were in Vietnam. To be sure, there would be no exception this time. The young man from Wuhan joked, “Then we are ready to bask in your reflected glory.”   

Early next morning, I heard Tibetans running here and there excitedly and shouted outside:” You are blessed so much; you are the right ones; we have been here for three month and we haven’t seen Everest for three months.” We quickly got up when Quzha rushed in from outside and asked us to go outside quickly to take pictures. Picking up the camera and dashed out of the tent, Sure enough, I saw the vast clear sky, as clear as if it had been scrubbed; being profiled against the blue sky, Magnificent Mount Everest was solemn and silent. After a burst of the sound of clicks, my memory cards were almost run out.

Quzha said, seizing the opportunity of the fine weather we should hurry to Jiuwula Mountain Pass to shoot that five snowy mountains over 8000 meters. Just then, the other auto which was going to back to Lhasa directly had a flat tire and needed to be replaced. Quzha had to help him to change the tire. On the way back, we stopped at Rongbuk for a while to take photos. The full name of Rongbuk is “Lacha Rongbuk Dongaqulin Gompa”. It is a monastery belongs to the Tibetan Nyingma, and a monks and nuns mixed monastery with rich local characteristics. It lies at the end of Rongbuk Glacier northern foot of the Everest, 5154 meters above sea level, and linear distance from Rongbuk to the top of the Everest is 20 kilometers. The monastery has two parts, the new and the old. The old one is located 3 kilometers to south of the new one, closer to Qomolangma. The cave where Guru Padmasambhava practiced Buddhist in, and the stone with hand and foot prints of Guru Padmasambhava and stone pagodas etc., are still there. The new one was built in 1902, Rongbuk Monastery was once the large, there were dozens of attached temples, some of them were in Nepal, and later, were destroyed for historical reasons. Today, there are eight subsidiaries including a nunnery. Here is a good point to appreciate the scenery and take photos of the Everest. Many monks here speak English but Chinese. When we were taking pictures there, there was a monk wandering around us silently. He approached us with a stack of entrance tickets of Rongbuk Monastery in his hand only when we discussed whether we should buy tickets to get in the monastery. It turned out that he was a ticket seller, wandering around shyly. He should have propagandized himself, cried out and made advertising.

On the way back to Shigatse,the auto rushing back to Lhasa and stopped at no where was often over taken by us(we stopped here and there): we had dinner together in Baiba and the return process was done together at Lulu Border Check Point. Backing to Shigatse, we still stayed in the same hotel. We roamed about the street and had Tibetan food in the evening. There’s no Chinese restaurant in that street, almost all stores sell religious articles and Tibetan ornaments. The road was paved with flagstone; all street trees were large willows; and the air was filled with the Fragrance of temple incense. Religious atmosphere was very strong here.

After entering Tibet, I paid a great attention to the pronunciation of Tibetan. On the way to Qomolangma, a truck could not start up; to ask for help, the Tibetan driver raised his hands and bowed frequently and stopped our vehicle. At first, I thought it was a beggar, but Later I learned that he was asking Quzha to give him a tow (from now on, the Tianjin man who shared the auto with us has been interested in the performance of Quzha’s automobile). The Tibetan dialogue between them sounded very interesting, its retroflex was more frequent than German. I asked Quzha, why the Germans said their ancestors were Tibetans; one was yellow and the other was white; they were not even the same race. Quzha said he did not know why either. I asked Quzha what he meant by “Yeah”; he said he did not say “Yeah”. Later, when we were having Tibetan food in Shigatse, he talked with the proprietress in Tibetan. As soon as I heard the proprietress said "Yeah", I asked what the word "Yeah" meant. Both Quzha and the proprietress said it meant “yes”.  Westerners often drink beer in this Tibetan restaurant. Basically, occidentals we met in Tibet were expressionless to the Han People as if they owed them something, all pulled a long face.

To be continued

 

    WHERE DASIPHORA FRUTICOSA BLOOMS Ⅵ - 梦中的岁月 - 梦中的岁月  

Qomolangma View from Rongbuk Monastery 

WHERE DASIPHORA FRUTICOSA BLOOMS Ⅵ - 梦中的岁月 - 梦中的岁月

Qomolangma in Mist

WHERE DASIPHORA FRUTICOSA BLOOMS Ⅵ - 梦中的岁月 - 梦中的岁月

The Tent hotel

 

 

WHERE DASIPHORA FRUTICOSA BLOOMS Ⅵ - 梦中的岁月 - 梦中的岁月

Mr. Quzha

WHERE DASIPHORA FRUTICOSA BLOOMS Ⅵ - 梦中的岁月 - 梦中的岁月WHERE DASIPHORA FRUTICOSA BLOOMS Ⅵ - 梦中的岁月 - 梦中的岁月

Qomolangma Post Office

WHERE DASIPHORA FRUTICOSA BLOOMS Ⅵ - 梦中的岁月 - 梦中的岁月

Qomolangma in Mist

WHERE DASIPHORA FRUTICOSA BLOOMS Ⅵ - 梦中的岁月 - 梦中的岁月

Mani Stones

WHERE DASIPHORA FRUTICOSA BLOOMS Ⅵ - 梦中的岁月 - 梦中的岁月

Qomolangma in the Mist 

WHERE DASIPHORA FRUTICOSA BLOOMS Ⅵ - 梦中的岁月 - 梦中的岁月

Rongbuk Monastery

WHERE DASIPHORA FRUTICOSA BLOOMS Ⅵ - 梦中的岁月 - 梦中的岁月

WHERE DASIPHORA FRUTICOSA BLOOMS Ⅵ - 梦中的岁月 - 梦中的岁月

WHERE DASIPHORA FRUTICOSA BLOOMS Ⅵ - 梦中的岁月 - 梦中的岁月

 

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