Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A trek in Tibet

One of my great passions is writing (hence this blog) and one morning a couple of weeks ago, I found myself in a idyllic location sitting at a desk in a “writers room”.

All set up at the writers desk

I owed it to myself and my gracious host to compose something whilst there and not squander an amazing opportunity.

Surrounded by so much beauty, this should have been an easy task, but I had to first tackle the exhaustion from my journey. It was proving a challenge to make the altitude adjustment. As I sat at the desk, I found myself panting after climbing just one short flight of steps!

I am in one of the many research centers of CERS (the China Exploration and Research Society), and my host is How Man Wong, the extraordinary founder and President of this incredible organisation.

How Man in the central building on the CERS site

It was a Wednesday morning when I ventured out of Dubai with my son, and 36 hours later, late on Thursday evening, we arrived ... to Shangri-La. 3,200 meters above sea level near the Tibetan Plateau!

It was dark upon our arrival and we were exhausted. We were provided with a wholesome meal (Yak meat spaghetti bolognese as I recall) before going straight to bed.

We were warned that headaches and shortness of breath were normal on the first day and night and should be expected. I consider myself to be reasonably fit, so dismissed this as a warning for the weak, but sure enough I had restless night. I woke up a number of times gasping for breath,  totally dehydrated and with a splitting headache! 

My reason for this trip was to drop off my son who was going to be doing a 2 week internship with CERS, but I also relished the opportunity to come out and visit a place so far off the beaten track.

As morning arrived, I opened my curtains to catch my first glimpse of our surroundings. I was not disappointed. By and large, a totally unspoilt landscape of an ancient village. The only mar on this impressive vista ... a massive new highway under construction. Chinese infrastructure development stretches even as far as this remotest locations.

I was accommodated in a simple but comfortable 2 storey cottage with a bedroom and bathroom downstairs and a desk and sitting area upstairs. The floor to ceiling windows looking out onto the trees, streams, pastures and wetlands below. Admiring the view and layout of this top floor, It was clear why this room was naming this “the writers room”. It was truly inspiring.

The living room of the Writers Room - inspiring!

Following breakfast that first day, I spent my time wandering aimlessly. Enjoying the nature and clean fresh air, but it was also an opportunity to clear my head and tackle some long pending projects. Free thinking time that I never seem to get in "the real world".

In this lightning fast paced life we all live, it can be certainly be sensible, even necessary, to stop, pause and look around once in a while.

As I left my son at CERS to get on with their professional exploring, I ventured out for the next 2 days on my own. Armed just with my camera, I wanted to try and capture just some of the wondrous surroundings I was witnessing. Perhaps a chance to capture it now, before it has a chance to develop too far. 

It was a thoroughly enjoyable, and productive, experience.

Thank you CERS and How Man.

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