Shegar – Awkward

August 24, 2005

Family Hotel 30 yuan/bed
As many people requested, now on I will put the information of the accomodation that I use during my trip.

The day started very early when I arrived in Shigatse bus station to take the public bus to Shegar (New Tingri), the gateway to the Everest base camp. I just knew that I am really lucky, I look Chinese and I speak Chinese, and I purchased the public bus ticket easily. Apparently the bus station in Shigatse doesnt sell ticket to foreigners, and the drivers usually refuse foreigners to get in (but still u can do some tricks). I met a Canadian heading to Nepal but couldnt get into the bus. And after 6 hours of journey, the bus took two Israelis who hitchhiked some kms away from Lhatse. These two Israelis have tried hard to get their way to Nepal, but all buses and trucks refused to take them, until our bus came.

The road deteriorates after Lhatse. And once our bus “sinked” into the mud, and they needed around 1 hour to rescue it.

A very unpleasant situation happened today. In Shegar, when we (the two Israelis and I) had dinner, we were discussing about “backpackers havens” around the world, comparing the restaurants and shops in major tourist areas like Khaosan Road of Bangkok, Thamel of Kathmandu, Phan Ngum Lao of Saigon, and of course the Barkhor area of Lhasa. I personally dont like Lhasa tourist area as now it’s “invaded” by Sichuan restaurants and tourist shops everywhere. Unfortunately when I expressed my opinion, there was a Tibetan guide who heard me saying “I dont like Lhasa”. This guy got very offended, as he didnt listen to the whole conversation and attacked me by saying “If you dont like Lhasa, why bother coming to Tibet?” :-/
I tried to explain to him, but he was on the top of his emotion. He even accused me of not telling the truth “to my guests” (he thought I was Chinese guide and the Israelis are my customers), I should tell them that Tibet was part of China and it was very logical there are many Chinese stores in Lhasa.

So moral of the story, be really careful when talking about Tibet, especially when it comes to Lhasa, Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama, etc. I know many travelers from China got disappointed when they come to Tibet, as they have traveled thousands of kilometres away from their home, just to find that Lhasa looks like other cities in China. But guys, be careful when saying this in Tibet, I had the experience already. And if you dont like Sichuan restaurants in Lhasa, dont come to Tibet (cynical…) :|

About Agustinus Wibowo

Agustinus is an Indonesian travel writer and travel photographer. Agustinus started a “Grand Overland Journey” in 2005 from Beijing and dreamed to reach South Africa totally by land with an optimistic budget of US$2000. His journey has taken him across Himalaya, South Asia, Afghanistan, Iran, and ex-Soviet Central Asian republics. He was stranded and stayed three years in Afghanistan until 2009. He is now a full-time writer and based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Contact: Website | More Posts

1 Comment on Shegar – Awkward

  1. Adam Alexander Smith // September 5, 2005 at 9:12 pm // Reply

    Hmm. It pays to keep conversation at a low level in Tibet about Politics. But your talk was simply sharing what you felt. I think it was your every freedom to share your opinion about what you found with your own friends, about Lhasa. The man who became angry with you, was nosy listening in to your conversation, and you had more right to be angry with him (in my opinion) rather than him angry with you. But travel drama is good :)

    In 2002, i knew Lhasa was going to be pretty much just a Chinese city because many people had told me. And Lhasa was one of the last stops on the way in from Nepal. By that time everything much more Tibetan had been seen, so it didn’t bother me so much. But people who only fly into Lhasa and back out on a visit to Tibet, must be very very dissapointed indeed.

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