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Asia - Tibet
06 July 2010

Tibetan brother and sister at Nam Tso lake, Tibet

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After a long drive from Lhasa, since 2005 comfortably over asphalt, and passing the 5,186 meters high Laken pass we finally got to the Namtso (Nam Co) lake that lies at 4,718 meters and has a surface of 1,920 square kilometres. I fell terribly ill again, which possible had to do with the altitude, but I was able to somehow enjoy the scenery at least. We chose to use the bushes instead of the available 'toilets' since there were by far the most disgusting we'd ever seen. I have seen a lot of dirty toilets throughout China and Asia in general, but in these I didn't even dare enter.

Namtso is renowned as one of the most beautiful places in the Nyainqêntanglha mountain range. Its cave hermitages have for centuries been the destination of Tibetan pilgrims.The new road dating from 2005 enables easy access from Lhasa and the development of tourism at the lake. Namtso has five reasonably sized uninhabited islands, as well as one or two rocky outcrops. For ages the islands have been used for spiritual retreat by pilgrims who walk over the lake's frozen surface at the end of winter, while carrying food with them. They spend summer there, unable to return to shore until the water freezes the following winter. However, the Chinese government has prohibited this practice and pilgrims can no longer continue they age-old traditions.

The next day - after a cold night in an improvised hotel - we had some time to wander about and we went to the lakeside that offered completely different views now than the evening before. On our way back to Lhasa we insisted (our guide was the most useless ever) on visiting a nomad family, which was great. The lady of the 'house' was just about to bake some bread and the children were hanging around while her husband was probably herding the sheep in the hills.

I've spent over 4 hours on selecting the pictures, so don't miss the second page. There's 80 pictures in total.