I notice the painter's radient smile of the painter, the delicate gesture of his brush strokes and the absolute indifference he must feel for his clothing, because the collar of his white shirt is streaked with black, not having seen the least trace of soap for ages. Is this truly important for his karma? The monks offer us Tibetan tea and tsampa.
Abstract= Visit of the monastery. Trip to Base Camp n°1. Then we go down towards the small town of Dingri.
Rongphu guesthouse. In the morning, Olivier gets up very early and together with a small group leaves the guesthouse at around 8h30 headed for the Everest North Base Camp. They would not go further, because tthat would require an "alpine pass". I get up a little later and visit the monastery.
Inside, a painter carries out marvellous mural paintings. Our guide converses with him for a while he has a great knowledge of the life of the people represented on the wall paintings. It is necessary to respect the position, the features, the color of clothing and possibly the attributes.
While waiting for Olivier to return of , I take the convolution (korwa) round the monastery when going past a cave which overhangs the area. At the base camp, there are some tents and a rough building to share the tourist rubbish! Further a stele inform that crossing that point costs a fine of 200 US dollars!
The sky is clear and I was able to photograph Everest. Even though the view is a little less beautiful on this side than by air over the southern face, the view remains one of the most beautiful it is possible to admire in the world. The top is only 3000 meters above us. With the return of the trekkers we lunch and finally leave this magic place. Our driver decides to join two others vehicles which, like us, want to reach Dingri by night fall. Instead of back tracking along yesterday's route, we choose a more direct route. First however we must ford the river which flows from Rongphu.
A truck is parked edge to mark the site. The current is not very strong, but there is at least 50 cm of water, enough to lose the sight of the bottom. The first vehicle that attempts to cross is stuck in the middle with ten centimetres of water inside the cockpit. It is decided that we pass. Our driver is more lucky and follows a very oblique passage which enables us to cross safely to the other bank. Indeed it is after examining the surface, where the current seems the strongest with wavelets, that the river is not really deep and fording it is practicable.
The third vehicle, follows us and crosses without a problem. We throw a rope to the vehicle still remaining in the middle of the river and tow it slowly towards the next bank.
As we stoped cleaning and drying the wet car,
we noticed that a blue Chinese road maintenance truck arrived from the south and tried to ford exactly following the same path as the Toyota which had been stuck. The same causes producing the same effects, the truck, in spite of its height, suffered the same effect and is stuck. The driver, a Chinese, sits on the top of the cabin looking in the opposite direction for help. He could have requested help from us but he does not, waiting for a hypothetical Chinese truck coming accross. He never even casts a glance in our direction, so we can only imagine how those people live together and ignore one another.
Ten minutes later, a small carriage drawn by an ass and an old couple of Tibetans appear and, uses to a way close to that which our driver had followed across the river with only water below their knees, just in front of the Chinese driver. This episode starts us laughing and makes us forget our own immediate problems.
After leaving the river bank, we cross a village and negociate a small pass before descending to travel an immense plain which extends between the Himalayan range and Dingri.
The area at approximatively 4500m high is relatively deserted .
Our track joins the Lhasa-Nepalese highway a few miles before entering Dingri. We get a room in one of the guesthouses which were on the northern side of the highway. South of the highway, were some restaurants and the camp of a Chinese garrison.
The Tibetan city was located behind the Chinese camp, but nobody has really the courage to go there. I go for a short walk in the old city, and after one kilometre, I meet a lama reciting religious texts in the street. Tankas were unrolled and suspended on the wall beside him. I am back in the middle age! I return to the hotel. The rooms are in the court, the restaurant is on the left while entering the courtyard and borders of the road. We dine with our companions (there are 3 Toyotas the Chinese camp). They originated from Indonesia and we find them friendly.