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The train from Chengdu to Lhasa

Tibet Travel Blog

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prayer flags
One the train to Lhasa, Tibet right now - about 20 hours into a 48 hours ride.  Happily, there are plenty of people to talk to.  There's a family from Belgium, a Japanese couple, and an Australian couple travelling with me on the train.  We're all on the same group permit, but the whole permit thing turned out to be a formality - a money grab.  The Australian couple and I are sharing our hard-sleeper compartment with some Tibetans.  I can't stop looking at them.  This is the first time I've met Tibetans. 

One older woman in our compartment is dressed in black traditional clothing.  Her clothing seems to be made of black velvet and her collar and cuffs are bright blue.
a yak herd
  There's golden fabric down her front and a fushia sash around her waist.  So many colours on a canvas of black.  She spins her prayer wheel and fingers her beads sometimes and I can see her lips move when she quietly says a prayer.  She gave me an apple this morning not allowing me to refuse it.

For the most part, we've spend the day with our cameras glued to the windows.  The views are breathtaking.  We passed through dry desert to snow fields and now mountain ranges.  Each train compartment has an electronic sign letting us know how high we are in altitude.  I've gotten some headaches but so far it hasn't been bad for me.  The Japanese guy had to lie down though and breath through one of the oxygen masks provided in the compartment.  This train is impressive. 

There are random settlements scattered here and there, and even some yak herds with one lonely herder tending to the pack.  We're in the middle of nowhere!  And yet, we occaisionally see some devout Tibetans on the road walking to Lhasa.  They're on their pilgrimage and have to make their prayers the entire way.  It looks exhausting and it must be freezing outside.  It makes me excited to see where this train will finallly take me.  
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prayer flags
prayer flags
a yak herd
a yak herd
servers in the food car succumbing…
servers in the food car succumbin…
an outpost
an outpost
a settlement on the Qinghai-Tibet …
a settlement on the Qinghai-Tibet…
power lines
power lines