To change things up a bit today we decided to cycle each on our own before lunch. The landscape was so flat and open and there were so few turn-offs (none really) that there wasn’t much of a chance of someone getting separated.
The plateau was not only stunning in its wind-swept openness but also fascinating in the variety and abundance of wildlife. I’m no naturalist, I couldn’t recognise any of the animal species but roaming around right next to the road were small gazelle like grazers, wild ass and tiny skittish rodents that ran for the cover of their hole was you went past. There were larger rodents too, like a capybara and of course yak. We didn’t see any on this day but later on foxes as well. There were many lakes and small river courses that cranes, geese and big red ducks swam around and way up in the sky soared vultures, eagles and kestrels or hawks (not entirely sure which).
We struck across the wide plains then up into the hills. We agreed to meet at the first settlement we hit, which was supposed to be about 60km down the road. I arrived at this small hamlet first. An old Tibetan man was watching me curiosity while I waited for the the others an by the time Finn arrived he had invited us in for tea.
His hut was a one room affair with a yak-dung burning stove in the center and his bed by the window. A small prayer wheel stood at the end of the bed which he spun with a stretch of rope. We showed him the map and some of our photos and then sat in silence waiting for the water to boil. We drank the tea and then said goodbye.
Walking into the settlement proper we came across a small shop run by a Tibetan family. They invited us in to their living room next to the shop and offered us some biscuits and tea. We bought some instant noodles in their shop and ate them in the living room for lunch. After lunch we waved goodbye to everyone in the village who had gathered to see us and continued cycling.
The road had climbed into the hills just before this hamlet and now ran along the side of the hills looking down into the wide plains below. The landscape was almost boggy, like the west of Ireland except 4000m above sea level. Coarse, stunted tufts of grass grew amongst loose black soil and small pockets of snow.
A nice camp spot presented itself beside the road. That night a heavy wind blew in carrying snow with it. Seems like it snows a bit every night up here on the roof of the world.