03.03.2007 - 05.03.2007 4 °C
We made it to the Tibetan plateau!
Zhongdian is a slightly wild and rugged town in the middle of a grassy plain grazed by yaks, surrounding by huge snow-capped mountains.
It snowed as we arrived and continued to be cold - well it is winter, at 11,000 feet.
The local Tibetans are famous for two things, we're told - knives and fierce dogs. Don't see too many knives, but do encounter some fierce dogs on a walk up to some rather lovely temples surrounded by prayer flags hanging from trees.
We met some chinese-speaking Americans, who rather usefully negotiated us a Tibetan hotpot at pretty much the only place in town that was open.
Next morning we went to the Sompasteling Monastery, one of the most amazing buildings I've ever seen, a higgledy-piggledy complex of big white temples filled with luridly covered carvings and buzzing with activity, particularly from the monks.
We spent the afternoon driving around the surrounding area, looking at Tibetan houses, lakes and yak meadows.
Stayed at the Himalayan Garden Inn, which wasn't really open but they rented us a room anyway.