China and blogging – not a good combination

Rod Baber has been in the Himalayas since mid-April (Original photo on BBC NewsNow in Lhasa, a truly magical place where religion is at the heart of everything the people do. I won‘t go into a long tirade about Tibet and China other than to say the impact of the Chinese is noticeable, the unrest is still clear to see and the locals would love to have the Dali Lama back. Of most note is the impact the ‘cultural revelation’ had on this place – once deemed the place of Gods, many of the cities relics, monasteries and temples are no longer. Those that remain are spectacular although in a state of repair. Put an place and the central Lassa temple (shrine of the original Buddha and Tibet’s most holiest site) are both spectacular.

Local food is tasty, and interesting, largely centred around the Yak. Today I sampled what I thought was yak steaks and in fact turned out to be Yak lungs. Glad I hadn’t known that before I ordered or I wouldn‘t have – really tasty! Far tastier than the traditional drink of the region which is Yak butter tea – must be an acquired taste.

We are in Lhasa for one more day before the proper climb to Everest. At 3,600 metres Lhasa is hardly low, but the idea is to acclimatise here before venturing higher. The aim is to be at base camp on the 16th and then if coping with that altitude a two day walk to a heady 6.400m at advanced base camp (ABC). Word from Rod (the climber is that his acclimatising is going well, which involved a nights sleep at 7,500m (the highest point you can realistically get to without oxygen) – weather permitting he hopes to start the summit bid on the 15th May.

Blogging is not going to be as easy as planned, as due to censorship of the internet in China, I’m not able to access WordPress to update. My colleague Jonny Bentwood has kindly posted this update from me. Twitter seems to be fine so will try and update more regularly at www.twitter.com/justinwestcott.

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