This part of the road, we were keeping our eye out for wildlife. The usual chubby groundhogs, field mice, wild donkeys and the deer have become part of the norm, but this time we’re on the lookout for the estranged wild yaks and the infamous Tibetan antelope (藏羚羊) which numbers less than 75,000 in the wild.
For the most part of the day, we were (unsuccessfully) chasing wild animals in the fields, and if not we would be chasing lakes. On the Tibetan plateau, there are many many lakes, some which are saintly, while others are just pristine and utterly beautiful. Nothing beats a landscape of a indigo blue that alters in colour from different viewing angles, with a group of glacier mountains serving as a backdrop!! We’re too spoiled!
There really isn’t much to say about the lakes, except I can guarantee you the pictures do no justice. We visited a freshwater lake ( 仁青扎布措 ), and also a saltwater lake (扎布娜措)! The saltwater lake was actually used to extract edible salt, and I’m sure they can fetch a nice and hefty price as ‘gourmet high-altitude Tibetan salt’ or something.
As we drove around the salt lake, our driver suddenly pulled off the ‘road’ and into a patch of grass, and loudly declared “LUNCH TIME!”. So it was there, next to 扎布娜措, where we feasted on freshly baked naan (from our nice host from last night, who made naan well past 2am as I could still smell the firewood burning in our mud hut) and lamb. Throw in a bit of local Yunnan pastries from our tour-mates, it couldn’t be beat!
On our way twisting and bumping to our destination, something came loose and the hydraulic-suspension broke off in the rear wheel! Ohhhh, the look on our drivers’ face. What used to be an invincible behemoth was now an fragile rodent, careful of the lightest bump. Fortunately, we made it to town, and a rather large town at that, and was able to fix the car up with a back-up hydraulic-suspension the driver had stowed away, and it was all done in about 1hr for the hefty sum of $180RMB! I can’t imagine how much it’d cost and how long it’d take for the mechanic to ship the parts in if this was anywhere in North America…. Sure, it’s not the best thing, but it was quick, efficient and it just works!