Tibet, September 2005
"Represents the movement of the new energy and the way/form the energy takes as it moves around the planet."
It is with much excitement that Paul, Phoebe and their long time friend (another acupuncturist ) head off to Tibet to place the third stone in a Lake called Gauri Kund which is near Mt Kailash. This lake is reached by doing the Kora or circle of the Mountain which is seen as 'the most sacred of mountains' by many different religions. Walking the Kora is a very sacred pilgrimage done by thousands of devotees each year and so they approach the journey with the deep respect it deserves.
All has been arranged through a trekking company in Nepal and they will have a Nepali guide, a Tibetan guide to negotiate the borders and check points set up by the Chinese, a Nepali cook and assistant, two Tibetan drivers (one for the back up truck and one for the land cruiser) and a Tibetan assistant. A private tour has been booked so they are surprised to find that the trekking company has put a German businessman on the tour. The company does apologise and moves him to another trip. He will cross their paths constantly. (a story for the book).
They set off through Nepal into Tibet buoyed by the fact that this journey is supported and believed in by the group they travelled with in Peru and are still very much connected to, as well as family and other friends.
"It is a good thing we did not have any expectations other than our itinerary as the journey turned out to be very different than planned. Kathmandu and Nepal in general is very green and lush looking, with so much water running down through the deep valleys that we are now travelling up and through, that the air is filled with a fine mist. We don't realise, because we are too busy looking at the scenery, that we have travelled upward and quite steeply, for 2 days. We did have 4 hours rest at the "friendship bridge" which is at the border between Nepal and Tibet whilst one Chinese official processed nearly 400 passports and also took an hour off for lunch.
Our first stop was Nylam a small town a few hours drive into Tibet. We felt so good.
By midnight I (Phoebe) was very sick with acute mountain sickness. Where are the coca leaves when you need them? Headaches to be felt to be believed and throwing up constantly. No appetite (which was probably a good thing for me) and exhaustion.
So I spent a day in bed recovering whilst the boys went off photographing everything in sight and looking for a waterfall they had spied on the way up to Nylam.
By the next morning I was well enough to travel and Paul was feeling a little headachey. By that night he was in big trouble with Pulmonary oedema and we were camping in the middle of nowhere wondering what to do.
Paul staggered to the road we had come along looked one way and then the other. He said "that way is darkness and that way is light". So we kept heading towards Mt Kailash. Going back (a three day journey over bumpy, dusty and sometimes non existent roads ) would have meant going back over a very high pass and we knew that Paul needed to come down not go up. Going forward meant being further away from immediate help but closer in the long run to emergency evacuation if needed. There was 3hrs of oxygen on board so Paul used it sparingly to ease his breathing.
In a dusty town that looked like the end of the earth the next day 2 Indian Drs appeared out of nowhere to confirm our diagnosis. Many thanks guys for your assistance it was so welcome. "He cannot go higher in altitude" Sunjeeb said. So that was it, walking the kora was definitely off the list and so was going to Lake Gauri Kund. Where was the stone supposed to go? Now we were thinking that we would have to go home with the stone. Had this all been for nothing? We had introduced the stone symbol to Tibet (dipped it in a river we had stopped at for lunch) earlier that day in the hope that Paul would recover enough for us to continue to do the Kora. Now that was impossible.
That evening, having taken our Nepali guide onboard with us. We arrived in Chui (Tibetan for "water") a little mud brick village, with guest rooms, by a lake and here we were to rest for a day whilst we decided what to do. Earlier we had gone into Tarchen and Paul was able to get some herbs from the Tibetan hospital there.
Meanwhile our truck had broken an axle way behind us and we were to be left for 2 days with no food and clean water until it was repaired and it caught up.
We were at Chui for 5 days as it turned out. Paul was no better the day after we arrived in the village. He was no worse either thank goodness, but it meant we were here until he did start to improve.
The sky was cloudy on the day we arrived and we were told that no-one was walking the Kora as it was snowing and dangerous. Spirit had other plans for us and it turned out. What were those plans and did we find the right place for the stone? All is revealed in "Set By the Ancients" Book 1
Thank you to Nature Trails and Trekking, Himal, Luda and our travelling companion for an unforgettable experience.