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Altitude Sickness, Stunning Landscapes
2008-06-11 17:25:37     CRIENGLISH.com
 

By CRI Reporter Liu Bing

The flight from Beijing to Lhasa was at 9.05am. It was the first time we were visiting Tibet. We were excited, but also a little concerned about altitude sickness. While we were waiting for boarding at the swanky new Terminal 3, we took videos of each other while we were still "normal", so that we could later see exactly how altitude sickness affected us in Tibet. We even teased each other saying if we heard someone call us from behind, we shouldn't turn around too suddenly. Also, if we felt the sky in Tibet was so close that we wanted to touch it, it was a sure sign that our brain was telling us: "Oh, my god, I need some oxygen!"


Our six-hour journey included a stopover in Chengdu. There onwards, the scenery became more vivid and beautiful.We went through many camera rolls clicking the blue skies, white clouds, snow-capped mountains and rivers. As someone who loves desserts, brown mountains with snow-capped peaks reminded me of chocolate ice-cream topped with white cream. Yummy to the tummy!

Photo of Lhasa nature. It was taken on the way from Gonggar airport to downtown Lhasa. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/ Liu Bing]

At 3.05pm, we finally arrived. "Are you ok?" we asked each other. "So far, so good." Fair question since we flew to Tibet instead of taking the train which allows a person more time to get used to the climate on the plateau.

The moment we stepped out of the Gonggar airport in Lhasa, we were greeted by strong sunshine and breathtaking scenery. Mr Zhang, who took us to the hotel, told us: "Don't worry. Today, you guys can just have a good rest. We need not go anywhere. The difference in temperature between day and night here is huge. So please try not to catch a cold."

But after we checked into the hotel, we realized we were too restless to spend time in our rooms. So we decided take a walk around the area. Though we heard about how beautiful Lhasa is, we were stunned by the sights we saw. We took many splendid pictures of old men wearing Tibetan costumes on the street, red walls, little dogs and women chanting prayers under the white clouds and blue sky. If you find me repeating "white clouds, blue skies" too often, it's only because other words fail to describe the beauty of Tibet.

We walked for three hours along the Potala Palace, taking pictures, not realizing how time flew. At 7pm in Lhasa, the sun shone as it would at 3pm in Beijing. Finally, we began to feel altitude sickness. Some of us felt our legs were sore, while some developed a slight headache.

Wangdui, the director of China National Radio's Lhasa office, invited us to dinner. Thanks to him and Mr Zhang, we were treated to a sumptuous dinner and ice-cold Lhasa beer. Wangdui told us Lhasa beer was different from other beers. It was made of Qingke, a local plant, and was known to relieve people from altitude sickness.

A Tibetan lady chanting prayers behind the Potala Palace in Lhasa on June 8, 2008. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/ Liu Bing]

We all felt much better after the dinner. In Tibet, it's important one doesn't overeat or starve.

So how great was our first day? Check out the pictures to find out! We were looking forward to the second day of the trip after a sound sleep.

Notice:

Girls, make sure your make-up is packed in glass or thick plastic material. Else it will melt and be like coca-cola when you open it.

Take rest after arriving in Tibet no matter how excited you are. It's important. After a good start, you can enjoy the rest of the journey.

Don't have too much spicy food.

Headaches are a major symptom of altitude sickness. Pop pain relievers in case the headache gets unbearable.

Never take a shower soon after arriving. Do it three days later.

Drinking milk before going to sleep helps.

One kilogram in Tibet is equivalent to two kilograms in other places. So don't carry around too much with you a day or two after arrival.

Lastly, sun-block lotions and sun glasses are a must.

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