Author: thorben

Golden Week Travels: Tibet

Golden Week Travels: Tibet

The Trip

During the national holiday, I joined a travel group for a trip to the Tibet. It was one of the few that actually included hiking, and not just riding around in a bus. Our tour started in Lhasa, where we spent two days to get prepared for the altitude. We visited Potala Palace and some smaller temples, ate delicious Tibetan hot pot and tried our best to sleep at 3.600m.

Tibet is more than three times the size of Germany, so getting to the head of the trail close to New Tingri took us one day and a 14 hour bus ride.

Our hike led us from Lungthang at 4.300m, to Lamna La at 5.150m over Rongbuk and finally to the Everest Base Camp at something around 5.200m. We slept in tents, but were lucky to have a team of four Tibetan guys that helped us cook, set up the tents and drove the heavy bags from camp site to camp site.

Those four were worth their weight in gold. While hiking on this altitude was hard but manageable with symptoms that reminded of a serious hangover, sleeping was not. Every morning a sleep deprived, disoriented group of 20 foreigners moved aimlessly between their tents and needed every help they could get to set out for the coming day.

Nevertheless, it was an amazing trip. The night sky, the landscape, the people, the food. And hey, I spent a night on Mount Everest, the highest mountain on the planet! Of course I took a bunch of pictures. Before the trip I was contemplating whether or not to bring the extra gear, but it was worth it. Below you can find a small selection of the pictures. First, our stay in Lhasa, then our trip, and finally the amazing Tibetan night sky.

Scroll down all the way for a picture that shows how small and insignificant even Mount Everest looks like next to the Milky Way. That triggered a small existential crisis 🙂

Lhasa

Our hiking trip

The Night Sky

Obstacle race through a bamboo forest in Moganshan

Obstacle race through a bamboo forest in Moganshan

Last weekend a large group of mostly archery people took part in an obstacle race through the bamboo forests of Moganshan. We rented a bus to get there, and I guess it was just as much about having a fun weekend with friends, as it was about the race.

All of us signed up for an elite mode of the race, which meant we were being timed and had to do a punishment of 50 jumping squats for every obstacle we could not do. It was me who convinced our tiny friend Marlyn to sign up for the race and the elite mode, so I felt a bit responsible helping her make it through the race.

Just three days before the event, I cut my finger badly while cooking, so I could not take the race too seriously anyway. First, I did not want to do the obstacles at all and I thought about just running along and being the camera man of the group. After protecting my finger with bandages, a finger condom from Japan, a latex and a workout glove, I felt comfortable enough doing it anyway.

Marlyn and I still stayed behind the group, took it easy, and tried to give our best at the obstacles. We had to stop once to take pictures with the track guards, that is most likely why our time wasn’t that great in the end.

We made it! In the end, we were much faster than anticipated, made it through almost all the obstacles (except Monkey Bars for me, where I tell myself the finger is to blame, and Archery for Marlyn, where she clearly does not have any excuse at all).

The others were exceptionally fast, I think we had a handful of people placing in the Top 10 of the whole race. I do not have any pictures of them running, since it took me almost twice as long 🙂

Archery Tag

Archery Tag

There are so many fun things to do in Shanghai and a few months back, Morgane and Leyfa took me to Archery Tag. I didn’t know what to expect, just knowing that it is something like a mix of dodge ball and paintball, using bow and arrow. And that’s pretty much what it is.

It’s a ton of fun! Every time we play, there are 28 players and we play in four teams of seven. A game lasts a maximum of five minutes, until all players of a team have been hit, or all targets have been shot. If you’re hit, you’re out, and can only get back in when someone shoots a target or catches an arrow.

To get a spot to play is the first challenge. It is first come, first serve – and being two seconds late for sign-ups gets you a spot at the bottom of the waiting list. The games are on Sundays and are called the ‘Hungover Games’, since some players still feel some effects from the night before, or directly go there from one of Shanghai’s many free-flow-brunches.

In May and June it’s league time! While you don’t always play with the same people during normal games, you do during the league. Six captains drafted their teams, and, what can I say, it is getting quite competitive!

Michael made a nice video to show what archery tag looks like. See for yourself:

It’s not easy to take pictures during a game, it’s indoors and pretty dark, but here are some snapshots: