I've made it to Tibet!
Day started with a 5:30am wake up call, in readiness for a 6:30am departure to the airport. The hotel provided a breakfast box for each of us, as the restaurant was not open at that time. However, the breakfast consisted of 1 slice of dry bread, 1 small bread roll, a mini swiss roll, and what was either an orange or a lemon. Still, I ate most of it. Raining in Chengdu this morning, but got to the airport and through customs with plenty of time to board our Sichuan Airways A319 for the 2.25 hour flight to Lhasa. The flight was full (mostly Chinese tourists) and although I didn't have a window seat, the view of the Himalaya's was stunning. Breakfast was provided on the flight, but was a cross between boiled rice and porridge, with dry bread rolls and a couple of slices of fruit. The fruit was delicious!
Arrived at Gongkar Airport which is 47 kms from Lhasa and met our locat guide Rinchin (or Alex) and our driver Mr Du. Drove through several tunnels (one of which is 2.4km long) to reach Lhasa. After checking in and settling into our rooms, had a chinese banquet lunch (very nice and very filling). The altitude is telling on us all, with minor headaches and lethargy until we adjust to the altitude of 3,650 metres. Went for a brief walk after lunch (along the local street) but it became to much so headed back to the room to rest and acclimatise. Tomorrow will be a big day.
Weather is fine and surprisingly hot with clear blue skies which were missing over Chengdu. We had a brief glimpse of the Potala Palace in the distance as we drove in, but will visit it tomorrow.
There is plenty of construction taking place both within Lhasa, and on the route out from the airport. Not sure that the construction is an improvement for Lhasa. There was a chinese checkpoint to be passed as as drove from the airport, and plenty of signs of police and military presence. We have been warned not to photograph police, or military installations.
The Tibetan Hotel comprises a new and old section, and we are in the new section. Rooms are large, with internet access. As I write this, I am sitting in my room looking out the window at the moutains which surround the city. It is now 4:50 local time and dinner is at 6:30, but I intend staying in my room until dinner to get rid of my headache.
We are staying here for 3 nights, so I am assured of internet access (slow) during this time.