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Storm passing the Potala Palace

Made it to Lhasa, Tibet to see the Potala Palace.

E-Mail excerpt (Fri 7Mar2003): After a long bus ride from LiJiang to Panchenhua where the bus was stopped, boarded, and several local people pulled out and search and questioned by the police (the guy next to me had a live chicken in the box that caught the suspicion of the gun toting police officer) and a 12 hour sleeper train from the coal mining town of Panchenhua to Chengdu (gateway to Tibet - atleast for foriegn tourist - the government controls very closely foriegners entering Tibet) I've found the the airport in Lhasa has been closed for 4 or 5 days because of a freak sandstorm coming from Mongolia. The stranded tourist are still waiting to make flights. At this point it doesn't look like I'll make Tibet. Situations change... Plans change... for now I'm waiting another day to see if anything changes. But if not I think I'll continue to head north... Songpan, Xi'an, Beijing... not sure.

On other news, today I went to the Panda Research Center. It was very interesting, but the most interesting thing was to run into Steve King (who I used to work for) and his wife Sue. What a small world! He was with a tour lead by an Ozzie, who I met the night before. What a small world! The rest of the day is going to be taken easy, as I'm having a bit of an upset stomach after having some 'Across the bridge noodles' last night. Take care!

E-Mail excerpt (Tue 11Mar2003): ...Plans change: a freak sand storm closed the Lhasa airport for four days and stranded 4500 tourist at the Chengdu airport. Hmmmmm, if there are only 2 flights a day and the airport was only closed for 4 days that means that China is flying a 500 seat plane into Lhasa.... I don't think so... Scott stop thinking logically this is Asia! After checking with another travel agency... 'there is no way that you will get a flight to Lhasa before the 17th', 'it is absolutely impossible for you to get a flight before the 17th', with that in mind my plans changed. I walked back to the guesthouse to arrange a ticket for Xi'an (tired of treking decided against Songpan) and in that time things changed. The lovely Sharon at Sam's (the same Sharon that was Steve's guide at the Panda Center - just an FYI) informed me that they could get me a ticket on the 13th to Lhasa. Things change. So the plan for the momment is to spend another day in Chengdu, avoid the guy w/ his picture on the wall like a wanted poster (who approached me yesterday offering to sit a talk over tea) and tomorrow catch an early flight to Lhasa.


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