Without knowing it, we were already on the last leg of our Ali trip and it definitely is a bittersweet kind of feeling. You’re sort of glad going back into the city but missing out on the scenery and camaraderie with our tour-mates.
Leaving the town early, we were on the road in one of the few places where Tibetan Antelopes were known to wander around. Along with us, there were three other SUVs that were on the road with us. Have to say, having good tour-mates is really important, as you’re sort of stuck with them for an extended period of time, having to eat, talk and sleep in the same room with them everyday! We’re really glad we met up with the outgoing couple from Shenzhen and not some annoying sob who can’t stop taking pictures of himself/herself and being the first person to express their opinion (which is the only one that matters) on everything and anything. Yay!
And what’s also important when traveling in Tibet?? A good driver, and we lucked out with a REALLY good driver? This guy does it all, he’s got mad skills when it comes to off-road driving, knows where the non-existent roads are in a maze of mountains, AND he’s got an awesome sense of humour. The most important trait though was in full force today, as his eagle-eye vision spotted us a few Tibetan Antelopes far away in the horizon! He quickly stopped for us to take a peak through his binoculars, and while we were still staring in amazement at how majestic these animals looked, the rest of the three other SUVs whizzed by without ANY knowledge that there were wild animals within sight. SUCKERS!
The best part came next, as we were driving along the road with the other SUVs in pursuit (the drivers seem to enjoy racing), our driver suddenly took this random crazy turn into the grass fields, giving us all a big scare as the car swerved off the road before finally saying “I’ve got a secret spot, hang on tight.” This is where a typical scenic drive through Ali suddenly turned into this safari-like animal chase as before long a pack of 400+ antelopes dotted the horizon. The driver got within a safe distance behind a tiny hill so they can’t see us, and dropped us off as we tried to pursuit them on foot to get a closer glimpse of these majestic beings. We scuttled up to the hill, and before our eyes was an amazing scene of the massive pack grazing, but these aren’t the domesticated animals we’ve been used to seeing and they bolted away within a split second of us actually seeing them! We managed to snap a few pictures before losing sight of them. So very very cool!
The funny part though, is when the three SUVs were crossing a river and the people stopped on the other side to take videos of us driving through the river! They were all excited about it, while they were totally oblivious to the antelope sightings =P
After our exciting morning, it was followed by an even better afternoon. We were headed towards another lake 色林措 and our last picnic was at hand. The coolest part though, was how our driver found this little known off the trail at the top of this hill. It took us a couple of tries before making it up the hill (which was very fun in its own right, doing a 45degree climb!) but it was alllllll worth’d. Situated between two massive rock formations was this tiny sliver of paradise which almost looked like it slide right into the aqua colours of lake itself!! And there, we popped open a few beers and had a an epic meal of buns, 榨菜 and spam! Seriously, the views here were probably one of the best so far of the trip, and we’ve seen some amazing sights!
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end as nobody except us brought tents so we couldn’t camp out here. Note to self, camp out here next time if we ever come back. The only problem this time was that the roads were extra bumpy, and our SUV suffered another blown suspension! Specifically, a rubber gasket was worn down and needed to be replaced, and our driver suddenly turned into a incredible mechanic, using nothing but a wrench and his bare hands, managed to dismantle the hydraulic-suspension, pop in a new rubber gasket and re-assemble the whole thing….IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DIRT ROAD. This guy is mad genius I tell you….
So continuing the trip by staying at places with funny pronunciations, we stayed at Bange (pronounced: Ban-GE) for the night. Nima is still my favourite though hehe.