Posts Tagged ‘Xiahe’

Day 210. 104km. Xiahe – Luqu

Posted: December 8, 2015 in China, Cycling
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The two young monks in front of us stood then dropped to their knees, then rose again. One was fast, the other (the one we saw yawning) was slower. The fast one was relieved from this praying duty by the head monk. The slower one continued. At six o’ clock in the morning, I am not surprised he was yawning.

The high plains

The high plains

My new friends Paro and Dwayn and I braved the early-morning rain to watch the monks. Then we had a nice breakfast of eggs, porridge and more. I don’t know what the monks ate. By eleven o’ clock I could procrastinate no longer, and I headed out into the drizzle.

Dwayn, Paro and me.

Dwayn, Paro and me.

‘Is the road flat?’ I ask the hotel manager who knows the region well. ‘Yes.’ Well, I discovered over again, what looks flat from a car is not necessarily flat. I was climbing or falling most of the day, but on excellent roads with little wind or a tailwind. My highest point was 3500m. My endpoint is 3100m. The scenery was grey and drab. I bet it looks stunning in the sun, but, with this weather, its head down and onwards. I will continue to take main roads until the weather improves. There are places to stay on the main roads, and bad-weather cycling is best on good roads.


They continue coming. Up the dirt path as I head down. Monks in red gowns. Old men and women in their simple clothes, propped by walking sticks. Wizened faces and old gowns. They have come a long way to walk this path, walk along the prayer wheel wall, and spin the wheels, symbolizing countless repetitions of prayers. The Labrang monastery.

Prayer wheels

Prayer wheels

Prayer wheels

Prayer wheels

The road continued, past the factories and the holiday yurt colonies. The guesthouses are perched directly opposite the monastery – on the road with its constant symphony of the honking of horns. Directly behind the pilgrims spin the prayer wheels. Pilgrims that have not been swept up in the materialistic tsunami, they seem from a different existence. In moments of quiet, they can hear the groaning of the wheels as their heavy weight rotates inside the prayer-hut. Then a cacophony of horns shatters the pathos. Angry and impatient drivers press to move forward. ‘I am here. I’m in a hurry. I am more important. Let me through!’ And one is returned to the ‘real’ world.

Labrang Monastery

Labrang Monastery

Today I passed 18000km. Tomorrow I rest.

18000km

18000km