Tingri was about as close as we could get to what "back-country" Tibet would truly be like, as we didn't wander far off of the Friendship Highway. That being said, I'm almost positive that the true back-country experience would be very different than this. At least Tingri had hotels...
Hit the jump for some more thoughts and pictures on this charming little town.
We stayed overnight in this little town to break up the long drive between Shigatse and the Nepal border.
Sejin always refers to her experience in Tingri as "not so nice", maybe even appreciating the bed-bugs of Gorakhpur more. I actually kind of liked it though. It's certainly a eye-opening experience to wander around a baron town, children everywhere with no apparent purpose, run down buildings that seem to still be well appreciated.
The streets were pretty quiet, but every once in a while we would come across some locals who we could interact with a bit. They're always quick to extend their hand for money or whatever else we have to give, like stickers or notepads. In return they'd humour a picture or two. Here are some teenage 'fashionistas' that we found.
The boy here was a pest. Haha. I made the mistake of taking pictures first, before offering anything, and he became quite demanding and would walk backwards in front of us, eyes locked, hand out. I took the opportunity to snap a bunch of shots before he buggered off to go see his mom, who came back with a baby in her arms begging for money with a pretty sob look on her face. I don't remember whether or not we gave them anything. Maybe a wet-nap...
The most notable thing about Tingri is the presence of dogs. They are everywhere. For the most part they leave us alone during the day, but our tour guide mentioned that it changes at night, as there are hundreds of wild dogs that come down from the mountain as scavengers for food, and end up fighting with the local dogs. The residents of Tingri close up all their gates every night to prevent the wild dogs from getting in to pilfer, and attack their dogs. For the entire night we heard a constant roar of near and far barking as the battle for dominance took place. Often we heard growls and yelps as they attacked each other nearby. Sejin didn't sleep much...
These photos are from the relatively calm daytime. Just hanging around.
I got up early in the morning to witness the sunrise over the hill. Here's a photo of a pretty gloomy and hazy Tingri.
Popular mode of transportation:
I was told by our tour guide that what we were seeing here was possibly the tip of Mt. Everest, but after looking around at other photos online, I think I wouldn't have been able to see it with so many clouds. But, it's definitely the Himalayan mountain range, and as close as we got to Mt. Everest. That will do, for now!
We were lucky to witness this short lived beam of light just missing Tingri. The clouds were so dynamic and fast moving, all of the landscapes were beautiful.
So... Tingri? I think I'd go back.
As always, there's an another large pile o' pictures available on my facebook page, Tingri, Tibet - August 25, 2010. Go and check it out, and leave some comments if you like!Sub