Break road - Bayi

carte jour 6
Abstract=After a few hours of suspense and a few minutes of anguish, the critical passage is crossed and we continue in the rainy weather! We cross Sekyim la pass, visit the monastery of Yudrubling G and get into an unpleasant Chinese hotel in the Chinese city of Bayi.

Breakroad. We wake up very early after an uncomfortable night sleep. The queue of vehicles is still there. The departure scheduled for 8 o'clock hence it is necessary to be ready and not to wander off. A person in charge decides that our vehicle will be the first to pass. As the water cascades down the mountain passes on either side of the barrier, we can see the continuous passage of Tibetans who come, either to make their ablutions, or to take water for their teapot. I prepare a coffee "cappuccino" accompanied by some biscuits bought in Pome. Eight o'clock, then nine o'clock and still nothing happens.

The young couple cames to greet us and they suggest we take the child with us. We explain that one needs administrative papers and the agreement of the authorities and that this is not possible. They keep the same smile, it is not a problem. We will never know what their motivation was? Perhaps they think that the boy could come without being being stopped by the authorities? Everyone is tense, because the passage is dangerous and imminent. The sight of the ravine below us is scary. In spite of the distance, one hears the permanent howling of the bulldozer which passes and passes again and the metal noise of this mass when it knocks onto obstacles. When these noises cease, hope reappears. A truck makes the journey on and off on the new track.
The hour of passage becomes imminent, twenty past nine, this is the start. The vehicle behind us will wait until we cross the obstacle successfully. We drive prudently. Indeed gravel continuously runs on both sides of the road when suddenly as we painfully reach one of the most dangerous zones we are obliged to stop because two Tibetans, a boy and a young monk draw a small cart in the middle of the road. Distressed we are obliged to stop until these two kamikazes clear the road on the side, to leave us a passage. We succeed in re-starting on this field of gravel without causing a landslide on a slope of almost 20% and after approximately 1 kilometer on this dangerous track we can finally see the convoy opposite us. Large "waow" of hurrah! There are portions of slope so steep one wonders how the trucks pass with their load. The vehicles facing us are on two ways and we shall have the passage only when the way is cleared. Fortunately the things quickly return in the right order and we set out again. A few kilometers further a thick black smoke climbs from the ravine on our left. Olivier sees a vehicle on fire there. We move on because we are not alone on this road.

le pont sur le Po tsangpo

20 kms from the departure, the road to Lhasa which follows the Northern bank of the Po tsangpo river since Rawok crosses a metal bridge and goes up a new tributary, the Rong chu river.
la cavalcade

The Toyota cars of the breakroad will catch up with us in the descent towards Nyingtri.
We stop in Lunang, the village has the look of a small Chinese city. The skies are still grey, the road is muddy, in bad condition and the rain of the night does not improve anything. The valley widens gradually and the landscape is rather alpine. After lunch we go up the valley on a remade road and we move faster.
We climb in the fog the hairpin bends of Sekyim la pass which reaches 4590m. The visibility is nil on the pass.

la route du col le col dans la brume

maison en construction mixte
The valley narrows and the landscape changes: the forest thins and then disappears.
We cross detached houses where yhe ground floor is made of stone and the upper parts of wood covered wood tiles.

In Nyingtri, a small Chinese city, we stop to ask about the Tibetan monasteries in the surroundings. Apparently there are only Chinese and foreign Tibetans in the area because we do not obtain any answer. The mountain, called Bön, in the S from there, is one of the three holy mountains of Tibet. It is the subject of pilgrimages which are described in the Guide of Victor Chan. The circuit up to Menri follows the road whereas the Menri-Nyingti portion is to be done on foot through the mountain. I had planned to reach Menri. Unfortunately the weather is cloudy and we cannot see the famous holy mountain. The track we follow is dreadful and we reach the monastery of Yungdrungling with difficulty.

The place is austere and at the forest edge. Inside the temple, monks are singing. They make us visit the place. Apparently Sigyel Gonchen gompa is unknown. Or it may be known here under another name. Considering the road condition, it would need more than four hours to reach Menri 60 km from here, I decide to turn back. The guide does not know this area and I suppose that Victor Chan was accompanied by one accustomed by the Bön-ri pilgrimage. Here we do not obtain any constructive information from the Tibetans we meet.

Return thus to Nyingtri where a beautiful road leads to Bayi, the very broad valley of the Nyang chu river on our left. Bayi was not scheduled on the program. According to my plans we would had to spend the night in the guesthouse of Nyingtri and pass Bayi without stopping. The guide chooses a beautiful Chinese hotel. This city extends over all the width of the valley. There are only Chinese people here, broad avenues and official buildings, so as the administrative decisions imposed on the Province of Tibet come from here. The hotel is opposite the bus station and close to the Public Security Office. Civil servants will come to check our papers. Of course, still here, foreigners are not authorized. Anyway, we are obliged to cross Bayi, coming from Pome to Lhasa. The reason for this choice is that our driver knows a girl in this city and wishes to spend the night with her. The civil servants are unpleasant, they leave us but appear upset. If the hotel looks luxurious, all is dirty in the rooms, but there is hot water for the bath at our arrival. With the dinner, we discover a dessert called "snows and gold", the marriage of a small brioche bread gilded with butter and of meringue.

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